BY DANIEL IDONOR
ANKARA, TURKEY — THE Presidency yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan was uncomfortable toeing the line of a state of emergency in both Plateau and Borno states where street organised crime had continued unabated in the recent past.
A Presidency source said despite repeated calls for a state of emergency to be declared in Plateau and Borno states, the president was not favourably disposed to the idea as a way of ending the crises in those areas.
Speaking against the backdrop of another set of crisis that broke out in Jos and Borno states, leaving many people dead and scores of others injured, the source said President Jonathan didn’t want to declare a state of emergency, bearing in mind that if he did, it was the State Houses of Assembly that would be sacked, while the governors who many believed were behind the crisis would remain in office.
According to the source, “the Jos and Borno crises seem to also revolve around the governors themselves. So declaring a state of emergency in a situation where the governors remain and the House of Assemblies are removed, would it abate the problem?
“If you ask me, a state of emergency has the potentials of creating bigger problems. This issue is one of the paradoxes of the 1999 Constitution that Nigerians will have to resolve. The president does not want to encourage illegality by sacking all the apparatus of government; this is why he has hesitated in declaring a state of emergency in those states.
“So, those criticizing the president over this matter should go and look at what the law says again, this is not a democratic practice and the president would not be seen committing an illegality.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that President Jonathan had ordered security agencies in the country to put a stop to the incessant killing for whatever reason, be it Boko Haram, religious crisis, militancy or politically motivated, insisting that the lives of Nigerians could not continue to be cut short like animals.
President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2002 declared a state of emergency in Plateau State, citing Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution, following a bloody violence there earlier that month.
That in turn led to reprisal killings of Christians in the city of Kano.
Obasanjo had sacked Governor Joshua Dariye, accusing him of failing to act to end a cycle of violence between the state’s Muslim and Christian communities.
He had also dissolved Plateau State’s legislature and appointed a retired army general, Chris Ali (native of Plateau State), as interim administrator for six months.
It was the first time a state of emergency was declared in the country under a democratic setting.
Again in October 2006, Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in Ekiti State, following the impeachment of the governor, Ayo Fayose, for corruption.