BORNO, NIGER, PLATEAU AND YOBE STATES: Emergency rule in retreat mode
The limits and limitations of Emergency Rule
By Taye Obateru
Despite the declaration of a state of emergency in Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State, nothing seems to have changed security wise. This is because the security situation in these areas has remained the same and has even worsened in some cases. Bomb attacks have been recorded in churches in Jos North and Jos South Local Government areas while killings have continued in local communities in Barkin Ladi and Berom Local Government areas.
Many residents of the four local government areas told Sunday Vanguard that there was no noticeable new security arrangement put in place after the declaration of the emergency rule outside the road blocks and security posts which predated the declaration in the wake of the crises in the state. To some, what has changed is an upsurge in the attacks on villages by suspected Fulani herdsmen and the hardship brought by the seizure of the monthly allocation to the local governments following the declaration.
“Many of us saw hell because our salaries were not paid for about four months. Our children were sent out of school and we could not meet our responsibilities as bread winners”, Dalyop, a civil servant said.
Member representing Riyom/Barkin-Ladi in the House of Representatives, Mr. Simon Mwadkon, had cause to lament the ineffectiveness of the declaration of emergency following repeated attacks on his constituents despite the emergency rule. Speaking after one of such attacks, he said the state of emergency had not achieved the desired end because insecurity still pervades the area. He appealed to security agencies to do all they can to put an end to the attacks.
Similarly, Member representing, Riyom Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Daniel Dem who escaped death when gun men opened fire as he conducted journalists round one of the attacked villages said the people had not seen the positive effect of the emergency rule. He told journalists after another attack on a village that over 30 of his constituents had been murdered in cold blood by the attackers in the last one month. He regretted that the state of emergency declared in four local government areas of the state which was to end the attacks had not yielded results and urged the Federal Government to review the security arrangement to make it effective.
Dem was in tears after he escaped to a safe area about two kilometers from the village saying he had witnessed what his constituents were going through first hand. “I thought it was a joke. I never knew this is what my people have been passing through; I had a close shave with death. Government knows about the problem; security agents know of the attacks but no one is responding to my distress call.
“The Federal Government imposed a state of emergency on this council but they are not giving required attention to the council. The worst the government has done is to withhold the monthly allocation of these local governments and the Federal Government is not sending any special fund to handle the security challenges people are facing here. The Federal Government has no reason withholding monthly allocation of councils under state of emergency”. The allocations were, however released shortly after these appeals.
Council areas are groaning because of withheld funds
By Ndahi Marama
Borno State Commissioner For Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Baba Kaka Kyari Garbai, has said that unless federal government reverse itself on the emergency rule in some councils of the state, the affected council areas will not be able to pay its workers, not to even think of infrastructural development at the grassroots.
Garbai stated this in an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard in Maiduguri against the backdrop of the financial incapacitation of the affected council areas which were earlier denied the federal statutory allocations as a result of emergency rule.
He described as worrisome the non-disbursement of the funds, which he said has created severe challenging financial and security situation in the affected councils. Garbai, while commending the efforts of the state government under the leadership of Governor Kashim Shettima for providing funds for the affected councils to be able to pay their monthly staff salaries and the running cost of the administrative businesses in the councils said, “withholding the funds is strangulating the local governments”
The Commissioner said that “it is very unfortunate that these local governments have been denied their constitutional rights, because even as I am talking to you now, apart from the payment of staff salary which the state government took over, there is no development taking place, simply because the resources are not there”.
Also reacting to the development, the Secretary of ALGON in Borno State who is the Caretaker Chairman of Biu council area described the action as a sabotage to the rural people as according to him, the imposition for the state of emergency by the federal government has not solved the problem of insecurity, rather, it has aided in retarding development in the affected areas.
Adamu noted that, although, the federal government has started releasing the federal statutory allocations to the affected council areas, he however said, for the past four months after the state of emergency, the councils had faced a lot of challenges, particularly in the area of providing basic necessities.
Five local government areas
By Bala Ajiya
Damaturu LGA; Geidam LGA; Potiskum LGA; Buniyadi-Gujba LGA; and Gasua-Bade LGA – in Yobe State were listed among the ones where the federal government proclaimed emergency rule.
Last month the relative peace that was enjoyed in Potiskum local government was shattered when unknown gunmen invaded the market and killed about 50 people. As a result of this, the government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in Potiskum. Since then and despite emergency rule, the people have been living in perpetual fear in all the local government areas of the state because of the fear of the unknown.
When a visitor comes into Damaturu, it may be difficult to perceive that there is emergency rule in place because government activities go on normally since the federal government did not withhold the monthly allocation but information from a reliable source revealed that in Damaturu metropolis there is selective killing going on despite the emergency rule.
Last Monday, what happened at exactly 5pm still remains a sore in the eyes of people because nobody had the premonition that such would happen. Two explosions, followed by sporadic gun shots, reminiscent of the Boko Haram type of assault, tore through the capital.
Pandemonium followed, with people scampering to safety. Once the JTF responded, the gun battle raged till 2am.The following day, Tuesday, the gun battle continued unabated. Information provided by the Red Cross suggested that over 40 people were killed including 3 policemen.
One Mallam Yusuf Ibrahim, an eye witness said the JTF brought a top member of Boko Haram for treatment at the Gen. Sani Abacha hospital and once the sect members got wind of the purported treatment of their leader at the hospital, they decided to rescue him in their commando style. This triggered the onslaught. A 24hr curfew was imposed immediately bit it has since been eased. The curfew created its own problems as banks and business activities were shut, leading to hardship or the people.
Hajiya Maryam Iliyasu, a mother of 6, said “we had that the government provided food and water as palliative to cushion our suffering but in our area here we have not seen anything; if not for our neighbours that supported us with what to eat, I and my children would have died of hunger.