Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Tearfund home

Nigeria goes to the polls amid a growing humanitarian crisis

The first of two general elections takes place on Saturday 16 February. It comes as Nigeria faces a developing humanitarian crisis.

Written by Tearfund | 11 Feb 2019

Nigeria humanitarian crisis

Tearfund’s team in Nigeria are calling on us to pray for a fair and peaceful election as the nation goes to the polls.

The first of two general elections takes place on Saturday 23 February. It comes as Nigeria faces a developing humanitarian crisis.

An ongoing conflict provoked by the militant group Boko Haram in north east Nigeria has forced 2.1 million people to flee from their homes, mostly remaining within the country itself. 


The Nigerian government has in part pushed Boko Haram back, and people have slowly started returning to what’s left of their hometowns. But food and other essential items are in short supply.

Across the north east of the country – in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – almost 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than half of them children.

‘'We are trusting God for free and fair elections.'’
Paul Mershak

It is understandable, therefore, that security has been a key issue in the debates leading up the elections. 

Community harmony

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), more than 84 million people have registered to vote this year – a record figure and also an indicator of how high the stakes are.

With around 190 million people, Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation. It’s split almost equally between Christians and Muslims, with around 250 different ethnic groups living side-by-side, for the most part peacefully. 

Paul Mershak, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Nigeria, says: ‘Politicians are desperately vying for positions, leading to a lot of tension in the country. Despite this we are trusting God for free and fair elections. The election is crucial for Nigeria as it tries to find long-term peace.’ 

Several Tearfund partners are working to bring peace in Nigeria. Their peacebuilding initiatives help Christians, Muslims and traditional worshippers to work together and live peacefully. 

A second election takes place on 9 March for the governorship and state assembly.


• As people go to the polls, pray they are free from fear, that the electoral body will do its duty, and that officials will deal with the process with care.
• Pray for peace during the election period, that insurgents won’t take advantage of the change of power due to the elections, especially in places facing insecurity.
• Pray that the church will be able to continue being a positive influence on public life in Nigeria.
• Lift up our partners as they continue to do vital work to bring peace during and after the elections.

Written by

Written by  Tearfund

Share this page

Share this page to spread the word and help support those in need.

Get our email updates

Learn about our work and stay in touch with Tearfund. Hear about our news, activities and appeals by email.

Sign up now - Get our email updates

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.