Emergency Rule Backlash: President Jonathan vs Northern Interests

President Goodluck Jonathan’s letter of request to the National Assembly, seeking an approval to extend the proclamation of the state of emergency for another 6 months in the three terrorist infested north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe may have suffered a setback as Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and a pocket of Northern Senators insist on frustrating his appeal for extension.

Jonathan had in the letter to the Senate and House of Representatives respectively on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, expressed the need for the extension due to the incessant terrorists’ insurgency in the affected states, which has caused deliberate security uncertainty.

Relying on relevant Section of the Nigerian Constitution as amended, the President in the letter dated May 2, 2014 said, “By virtue of the provisions of Section 305 (6) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the proclamation aforementioned would have elapsed after six months from the date of approval of the National Assembly.

“However, while substantial progress had been made to contain the situation and restore normalcy in the affected states, the security situation that necessitated the proclamation of a state of emergency was yet to abate.

“The security situation in the three states remains daunting, albeit to varying degrees, in the face of persistent attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect on civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rates.

“In view of the forgoing, I most respectfully request distinguished Senators to consider and approve by resolution, the extension of the proclamation of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the current term.

“The security situation in the three states remains daunting, albeit to varying degrees, in the face of persistent attacks by members of the Boko Haram sects on civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rates.

“In view of the foregoing, I most respectfully request the House to consider and approve by resolution, the extension of the Proclamation of the State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States by a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the current term.”

The President’s letter to the Senate was read by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary, while that of the House of Representatives was read by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal who directed the committee on rules and business to bring the matter to the floor for today, Wednesday, May 14, 2014 for deliberations.

Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State opposed the move by President Goodluck Jonathan to further extend the state of emergency currently in force in his state and two others in the North-East.

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Reacting to the request, Governor Nyako, who spoke through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmed Sajoh said: “We still hold our position that there was no need to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa in the first place, because the level of attacks in the state has even increased with the imposition of emergency rule.

“As far as we are concerned, the state of emergency has not changed anything and we advise the government to adopt a new approach in tackling the insurgency rather than the business as usual tactics that do not add up.”

Senator Mohammed Ndume (APC, Borno South) said: “We are not in support of extending it because it has not served the purpose for which it was declared one year ago.

“The President asked for powers to enable him tackle the security challenges in the three states, but unfortunately instead of improving in the first six months, things got bad.

“After the second extension, which the President specially said he needed to finish up the war against the insurgents, again things got worse.

“More people were killed and displaced and the insurgents grew stronger.

“So we begin to wonder if they are asking for the extension so that the things will get worse. I think it is time to re-evaluate the whole thing and come up with a better alternative approach.

“We must emphasise on deployment of more troops in the implementation of provisions of Section 14(2b) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that the security and welfare of the citizen shall be the primary purpose of government instead of Section 305. Deployment of troops does not necessarily require state of emergency.”

Senator Ahmed Zanna (PDP, Borno Central) said: “I vehemently oppose the extension. There is no need for it because even without an emergency they can deploy troops and operate. We have given them one good year and two chances and they refused to do anything.

“There is no emergency in the troubled areas in the last one year. Except if there’s a political undertone, it should not be extended.”

Senator Ahmed Lawan representing Yobe North said: “The state of emergency had been operated for 12 months now and will end on the May 19. I think that should be the end. That is not to say that the military operation in the North-East should cease.

“Instead, Federal Government should deploy more military personnel and modern equipment to the affected states.

“What is crucial, essential and imperative, is not the state of emergency but the enablement of the military, especially those in the battle front, to have state-of-the-art technology and weapons.

“They should be motivated so that we can have results. The government does not need to declare another state of emergency before they continue. They are already there.

“The obsolete arms and ammunition should be withdrawn from them and be replaced with modern ones.

“The National Assembly has always expressed willingness to support further funding for the military operation.

“The Senate President, David Mark, who spoke on our behalf last week, told President Goodluck Jonathan that the senate was prepared to approve supplementary budget to further equip the military and boost the morale of the soldiers.

“Therefore, I am completely opposed to the extension of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, but I support further funding for the military operation in the area.”

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News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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