By SONI DANIEL, EMMAN OVUAKPORIE & JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
Ninety-six hours after the expiration of the subsisting emergency rule imposed on the three states -Borno, Yobe and Adamawa- President Goodluck Jonathan is yet to send a fresh request to the National Assembly, NASS, for possible extension, as stipulated by law.
Section 305 of the 1999 Constitutions states that for the President to declare emergency rule in any part of the country, he must first issue a proclamation of the state of emergency, publish it in the form of official gazette and send same to the National Assembly for approval.
Section 302 ( 2) of the Constitution states: “The President shall immediately after the publication, transmit copies of the officials gazette of government of the Federation containing the proclamation including details of emergency rule to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each of whom shall forthwith convene or arrange for a meeting of the House of which he is the President or Speaker, as the case may be, to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the proclamation.
Subsection 305 (6b and c) provides that a proclamation issued by the President shall cease to have effect if it is not ratified by two thirds of the members of the NASS or if the emergency has been in force for six months after proclamation by the President.
However, the law makes it amply clear that the NASS can by a simple majority extend a state of emergency for another six months by a simple majority of members of both chambers.
The second leg of emergency rule slammed on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states by the Federal Government effectively expired on April 19, 2014 with heightened expectation that the Presidency was set to impose a full-scale state of emergency in the affected states because of escalating terrorism that had claimed more lives and property than in previous years.
Although the Presidency had kept mute on its next line of action, imposing a full-scale emergency rule would involve dismantling all democratic structures in the three states, forcing the governors and their houses of assemblies out of power.
Unconfirmed reports also had it that the Presidency had begun lobbying NASS members with a view to approving the plan to sack the governors, particularly, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, who had openly criticised the Presidency for the crisis in North-East.
Nyako was also peeved that his state was included in the states under emergency rule, when there was no turbulence to warrant such, blaming the Presidency for targeting him.
But Senator Ita Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, told a Vanguard correspondent, yesterday, that there was no communication between NASS and the Presidency on the emergency rule.
Enang said the lawmakers were not in a hurry to endorse emergency rule in any of the states without getting first hand briefing from the President, the security agencies and the stakeholders from the states.
“President Jonathan must first present a situation report on the state of security in those states to us after which we will do an appraisal and take appropriate decision,” Enang, who represents Uyo Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State, said.
Also contacted on the matter, Zakari Mohammed, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said there was no communication on the matter before them and that they would not act on nothing.
“For now, there is nothing before us and we cannot act on nothing,” Mohammed said from his constituency in Kwara State.
It will be recalled that in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in the North East, President Jonathan first declared a state of emergency in the three states on May 15, 2013 and subsequently renewed it before the end of the year.
In a pre-recorded address broadcast, President Jonathan said: “What we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion…
“The Chief of Defence Staff has been directed to immediately deploy more troops to these states for more effective internal security operations.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, disagreed on whether emergency rule in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno should be extended for another six months.
Some lawmakers who spoke to Vanguard, saw it as a welcome development and even canvassed dismantling of governmental structures in the affected states, if it became necessary, while others argued that it should not be extended and vowed to kick against it on the floor of the House.
Chairman, House Committee on Corruption, Abiodun Faleke, APC, insisted that the emergency should not be extended, but suggested there should be heavy security presence.
But Chairman, House Committee on Narcotics, Adams James Jagaba, countered Faleke, saying he was in full support of the extension and wanted it extended to Taraba State.
Denouncing the extension also was Aliyu Sani Madaki, APC, Kano,who said he would not support the extension.
Another lawmaker, representing Katsina State, Ibrahim Babangida Mahuta, was of the opinion that rather than extend it, government should put more security measures so that the people would continue with their normal lives.
”It has achieved nothing. What is happening in the three emergency states is also happening in many other states. If they want to extend it, they should also declare it in Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Zamfara and others.
”So far, there’s no any positive impact on the state of emergency. They should just allow democratic structure to continue.
”It’s not about the failure of the governments in those states; they have shown the zeal and will to handle the situation. All the government needs to do now is to take more security men to the states. There’s really no point to extend the state of emergency in those states,” he said.
On his part, Garba Idris Abdullahi, APC, Niger, said: “I won’t support it, and I believe most members won’t support it. They say there’s state of emergency in place, but we learnt insurgents are being flown with helicopters, and nothing is done.
”Look at what happened in Chibok when insurgents went and abducted many female students. There are only about 15 soldiers there when they’re supposed to have a full battalion there. So, what have they achieved with the state of emergency apart from making life unbearable for the people in those states?”