Switzerland working to prevent violence in Nigeria's upcoming presidential elections

Press release, 13.02.2019

Bern, 13.02.2019 - By signing the Abuja Peace Agreement, the main candidates have today renewed their commitment to conducting peaceful presidential elections and promoting post-election peace. Switzerland commends all the signatories and calls on them to abide by the agreement. At the request of Nigerian stakeholders, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has contributed technical expertise and financial support to efforts to prevent election-related violence, working in cooperation with local and international partners such as the Kofi Annan Foundation.

The FDFA has been supporting the National Peace Committee (NPC) in Nigeria with a view to diffusing tension during the elections. The NPC, which has been working with political actors over a number of months, is chaired by former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and comprises statesmen and women, traditional leaders and members of civil society. The NPC arranged the signing ceremony for the Abuja Peace Agreement which took place today in the Nigerian capital in the presence of high-level representatives from Switzerland, the European Union and the UN.

The FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD) has been liaising closely with the NPC since April 2018 when it invited a delegation of senior Nigerian officials to meet with electoral experts, diplomats and international mediators in Geneva. In facilitating the work of the NPC, the FDFA has supported efforts to maintain dialogue between the various stakeholders in the election process. Switzerland has contributed just over CHF 180,000 to this initiative.

In 2015, the NPC, with the backing of Switzerland, played a key role in achieving the first, peaceful democratic transfer of power in the country's history. Switzerland has been providing support and technical expertise over a number of years to promote civilian peacebuilding, human rights and democracy in Nigeria. Humanitarian aid, asset recovery, a migration partnership and economic cooperation have also cemented the excellent bilateral relations between Switzerland and Nigeria.