U.S. President Barack Obama is congratulating Nigeria's leader on his election win that was marred by deadly religious riots.

A statement issued by the White House said Obama called President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.

Obama gave credit to Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission and its youth workers for conducting the April 16 election in Africa's most populous nation.

However, Obama called the riots that occurred across Nigeria's Muslim north after the vote "deplorable." At least 500 people died in the violence.

Muslim rioters were upset that Jonathan, who is Christian, had won the presidency. Christians in the area also carried out reprisal attacks.