By SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North, EMMAN OVUAKPORIE & JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State has again 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.
Nyako’s opposition followed Jonathan’s request to the National Assembly to grant him power to further elongate emergency rule for six more months. Jonathan’s request, dated May 2, 2014, was read to members yesterday.
Reacting to the request, Nyako described the action as ill-advised and a wrong step in quelling rising insurgency in the North-East.
According to the governor, who made his position known through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmed Sajoh, there is no need for the imposition of emergency rule in the state, as it has not mitigated the level of attacks by terrorists.
The governor pointed out that there had been even more attacks in the state since the declaration of emergency rule by President Jonathan last year than when there was no emergency in the area.
He 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.”
Governor Nyako, last month described the Presidency’s fight against rising terrorism in the north-east as genocide against the people of the region.
President Jonathan had to summon an enlarged security meeting, during which Nyako virtually dominated discussions.
Although the government claimed later that Nyako was made to recant his position, the governor came out subsequently to declare that he was not scolded over his letter to northern governors.
Similarly, two senators from Borno State have also rejected the request of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Senate for the extension of the emergency rule imposed in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Senator Mohammed Ndume (APC, Borno South), said the state of emergency had not served the purpose for which it was declared about one year ago.
The Senator, who was one of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, member that defected to the APC, 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.”
On his part, Senator Ahmed Zanna (PDP, Borno Central), vehemently opposed the extension, saying that the emergency rule did not stop the terrorist activities in the states involved.
He 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.”
Also reacting to President Jonathan’s letter on the extension of the emergency rule, Senator Ahmed Lawan representing Yobe North, stated that what the three states needed was not extension of the imposed emergency rule, but the motivation of the military personnel.
‘What FG should do’
He 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.
The President’s letter
President Jonathan, yesterday, wrote the Senate seeking for approval to extend the emergency rule imposed on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states over security challenges.
In the letter, read by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary, said the extension was as a result of what he described as daunting security situation in the three states.
He noted that the security situation that necessitated the state of emergency in the three states was yet to abate as there had been persistent and deadly attacks unleashed in the states by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Relying on Section 305 of the Nigerian Constitution as amended, the President declared the extension of proclamation for further term of six months.
According to him, “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 President’s letter, which was also forwarded to the House of Representatives, will be debated today as announced by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal.