Civil society groups are reporting that as many as 39 people died as a result of election day violence in Nigeria, per The New York Times.
Most of the violence occurred in the southern half of the country — including Lagos, the country's most populous city — where the tightly contested and delayed election featuring incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and more than 70 challengers is even more hotly disputed, thanks to a larger opposition presence. There were also reports of violence in the northeast.
The Times reported that Clement Nwankwo, the executive director of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room — a coalition that has been monitoring the election — criticized Buhari at a press conference on Monday, arguing that the president's statements that vote-rigging would be punishable by death incited violence. Nwankwo also denounced the presence of the military personnel at polling stations, following their involvement in an election day shootout. He called for the U.K. and the U.S. to impose sanctions on politicians found to be responsible for any deaths.
The African Union, on the other hand, presented a more positive view of the elections, with one official calling the process "generally peaceful and orderly."
Nigerians were still waiting for the results of the vote as of Monday, but it is expected to be the closest count in Nigeria's electoral history. Tim O'Donnell