By Our Reporters
Mixed reactions have continued to trail President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign to crush the Boko Haram insurgents which had crippled the economy of northerners in last two years and resulted in the death of over 3,000 Nigerians.
The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, yesterday expressed total support for the effots by the Federal Government to flush out Boko Haram insurgents from their hideouts in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan took a wise step by declaring a state of emergency in the three states as a prelude to the military campaign.
NANS’ President, Yinka Gbadebo made this known yesterday, saying that this was the time the association had supported any of Jonathan’s actions.
A prominent Igbo leader, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka and the Odunanoba of Benin Kingdom, Henry Omorodion also praised Jonathan for sending soldiers to crush the insurgents.
Ezeonwuka described the action as a good omen, but insisted that both the state governors and political office holders in the affected states should have been removed from office for their failure to check the activities of the insurgents.
The Odunanoba of Benin Kingdom, Omorodion, also hailed the decision and asked Nigerians to pray God to give President Goodluck Jonathan the wisdom and strength to quell the rising violence in some parts of the country.
He called for an interdenominational prayers that would attract men of God from all over the world, saying “I am unreservedly committed to the success of the administration of Dr Jonathan. It is in furtherance of this that I have resolved to pursue the option of prayer as a solution to our security challenges and support for the president at this time.”
However, the Coalition to Save Nigeria, CSN, and the Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Group, COSEG, however, described as belated and an aberration, the declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states due to the thousands of lives of Nigerians that had been wasted by the Boko Haram sect.
According to COSEG, the declaration of state of emergency would not address the real challenges facing the country.
A statement by the National President of the CSN, Philip Ugbodaga, also stated that Jonathan’s response is belated and too little too late, especially coming after the massive orgy of violence of more than two years, with more than 2,000 innocent Nigerians prematurely sent to their graves.
“We however welcome the declaration as a necessary first step in a well coordinated, focused and purposeful action plan to bring peace to a beleaguered country whose people are being condemned to a daily life of anguish, sorrow and death.”
The NANS President Gbadebo said, “for the first time, we are compelled by reality to throw our full weight behind the government on the declaration of state-of-emergency in the three mentioned states. Even as activists, we must bear in mind that in the political system, input and output are complementary; in other words, demand and support functions are interwoven. It is therefore incumbent on the civil society and pressure groups to commend the government where it has been seen to perform creditably, with the same vigour as it condemns government for not living up to expectation.
“The declaration of emergency in these states, especially in Yobe and Borno States, was long overdue. In line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, we were hoping that the governments of Borno and Yobe States would have, within the purview of their powers, consciously approached the Federal Government much earlier than now, to seek its intervention via the declaration of state of emergency in their states, when it was obvious to them that a more sophisticated approach was required to tackle the insecurity plaguing their states.
“The situation in these states is pathetic! Human life is no more sacrosanct than a chicken! Day after day, scores of people get killed, maimed and women raped with impunity. People are afraid to congregate or even move on the streets, for fear of bomb blasts and open shooting sprees by these terrorists. Those who the society should regard as miscreants, the very dregs of the society, are being considered for dialogue and even amnesty by the government.”
These terrorists think that they can always have their way by instilling fear and terror in the minds of the people. This is indeed, a very annoying situation. If the situation is not handled with the appropriate application of force, it would result in total anarchy in the affected states, which like a virus, would spread rapidly to other parts of the country.
NANS, as the umbrella body of Nigerian students, cannot be ambiguous in declaring that it is a purely pro-education organization. We believe that formal education is the key to unlocking the potentials of individual Nigerians and by extrapolation, the entire nation.
In this Information Technology, IT, age, where nations are rapidly improving their technological bases, we cannot allow some Luddites to hold us back.
NANS is deeply saddened by the fact that students at all levels and members of the National Youth Service Corps are some of the strategic targets of the Boko Haram sect. We still recall with heavy hearts, the mass murder of students of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.
The Bayero University, Kano bombing earlier this year, where not less than 16 students were killed in a bomb blast at the St. Stephen Catholic Chaplain, is also very fresh in our memories.
Even primary school pupils are not spared in the dastardly show of brute by the terrorists! More worrisome is the fact that over 15 thousand students are currently out of school in Borno State alone; with thousands more in other affected statesh.
Many students and journalists paid the bitter price on the streets, lost their lives and limbs to bring about democracy in Nigeria.
NANS appeals to all Nigerians to support Mr. President in his quest to restore sanity and tranquility to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, as well as to cripple the activities of Boko Haram or other similar insurgent groups across the country.
In his reaction, Rev. Dr. Wilson Badejo, former General Overseer of Four Square Gospel Church, has lauded the Federal Governmentfs declaration of state of emergency in the three northern states, even as he urged the government to employ a holistic approach in tackling the issue.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos ahead of the sixth Wilson Badejo Foundation Annual Lecture, he said, gJonathan has taken the bull by the horns. These Boko Haram insurgents have no human conscience. It is hoped that the state of emergency will bring succour to the nation and our brethren in the North.
The terrorist act started in Maduguiri and has spread to other parts of the country. We only pray it does not get to the south. The state of emergency and amnesty programme offered by the Federal Government are welcome development.
gHowever, until and unless the symptoms of poverty, namely unemployment, hunger, disease, squalour and high crime rates are effectively addressed, the country will be in for a tough time fighting insecurity for a very long time to come.
gWe want to seize this opportunity to call upon the countryfs leadership to consider a strong paradigm shift in some sectors of our national life, which include but not limited to constant power supply, food production and proper storage of same.
We hope that Jonathan will take the bold step to declare a state of emergency in the power sector and other critical sectors of the economy too.h