Tense Nigeria oil state lifts curfew after vote

Presidential campaign posters hang from a lamppost in front of a petrol station in Lagos in the run-up to the vote (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei) (AFP/File)

Port Harcourt (Nigeria) (AFP) - A curfew imposed in Nigeria's southern Rivers state to contain unrest after the opposition disputed results from the weekend's general elections was lifted on Thursday, an official said.

"The general public is hereby informed that the dusk-to-dawn curfew declared by the state government early in the week is lifted with immediate effect," the secretary to Rivers government, George Feyi, said in a statement.

President Goodluck Jonathan -- who lost nationally to challenger Muhammadu Buhari -- was declared the winner in Rivers with nearly 95 percent of the vote.

But the oil-producing state has been controlled by Buhari's opposition All Progressives Congress since state Governor Rotimi Amaechi defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party last year.

Thousands of opposition supporters descended on the electoral office in the state capital Port Harcourt on Sunday and Monday to demand a rerun of the vote.

Amaechi's office issued a statement saying there had been "no election" in Rivers, claiming the result had been rigged by supporters of the PDP and its loyalists in the security forces.

Jonathan is from neighbouring Bayelsa state and won massive majorities across the region, known as the Niger Delta.

The results in Rivers were ultimately certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Attahiru Jega.

While a major crisis was averted during the general election, Rivers is still on edge with governorship and state legislative polls due on April 11.

Jonathan's defeat in the national vote was the first democratic change of power in Nigeria's history.