A Nigerian soldier, right, provides security as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, not pictured, speaks to supporters in Yola, Nigeria, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Youths angry at the Nigerian government's failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones Thursday at President Goodluck Jonathan's electioneering convoy in the eastern town of Jalingo, breaking windshields and windows of several vehicles. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
A Nigerian soldier, right,  provides security as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, not pictured, speaks to supporters in Yola, Nigeria,  Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Youths angry at the Nigerian government's failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones Thursday at President Goodluck Jonathan's electioneering convoy in the eastern town of Jalingo, breaking windshields and windows of several vehicles. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
A Nigerian soldier, right, provides security as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, not pictured, speaks to supporters in Yola, Nigeria, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)

(BBC) – Nigeria has postponed its 14 February presidential election by six weeks because of security fears.

Election commission chief Attahiru Jega said the delay until 28 March was necessary because of a lack of troops available to protect voters.

Nigeria’s military has been battling an insurgency by Boko Haram militants in the north-east of the country.

The opposition described the delay as a “setback for Nigerian democracy”.

Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, from the All Progressives Congress (APC) is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who heads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Correspondents say it looks set to be a tight race between the two.

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