A woman votes in the presidential election in Agulu, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Frustrated Nigerians voted with flashlights and others watched in their polling stations as the vote count began Saturday night amid fears of vote rigging after a day of delays in Africa’s most populous country.

Election authorities blamed the delays on logistical problems, although other observers pointed to the chaos created by a severe shortage of paper money which affected transfers not only for voters but also for election officials and police. providing security.

Voting ended much later than expected in many places after delays, but some were still voting in some areas where the process dragged on into the night. In the northwest state of Bauchi, Lagos-based Channels TV reported that people were still voting with torches around 9 p.m.

And in Abuja and Delta states, voters stayed to monitor the process and ensure the results were not tampered with.

“Twilight is here, anything can happen (now),” Torke Ezekiel said after casting his vote.

Amid fears of violence on polling day, from Islamist militants in the north to separatists in the south, the vote was largely peaceful on Saturday, but with a dramatic scene in the megalopolis of Lagos by mid-afternoon.

Associated Press reporters saw armed men arriving at a polling station in a minibus, firing shots in the air and seizing the presidential ballot box. The gunshots caused voters to scream and scatter for cover, and ballots were scattered on the ground.

And in Borno State, in the northeast of the country, at least five people, including children, were injured when Boko Haram extremists attacked voters in the town of Gwoza, according to local authorities.

Mahmood Yakubu, head of Nigeria’s electoral commission, said the nationwide collection of presidential election results will begin at noon on Sunday. In 2019, the result of the presidential election was announced four days after polling day.

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