- We’re studying president’s proposal, says Shettima
By Patrick Andrew, Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Umar Muhammad Puma in Abuja & Umar Dankano, Yola
Adamawa state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako and his Yobe state counterpart, Malam Ibrahim Gaiidam, have expressed opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposed extension for another six months, of the emergency rule imposed on three North-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
In a letter to the Senate President, which was read on the floor of the Senate by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the sitting, Jonathan said: “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”.
Jonathan further said: “The security situation in the three states has remained 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”.
He however pointed out that a lot of progress has been made in containing the situation and restoring normalcy in the affected states, but said extension of the emergency by another six months would be needed to quail the insurgency.
In reaction to this development, the Yobe state government rejected the president’s move, noting that extension of emergency rule is not the answer to the prevailing security challenges in the three affected states, in view of the apparent failure of the same measure over the last 12 months.
The state government noted that the emergency rule, since it came into effect, has been a mixed-bag that was marked more by failure than by success, arguing that Yobe state had seen some of the worst attacks by Boko Haram under the current dispensation.
Governor Nyako, in his opposition noted that the attempt by President Jonathan to extend the emergency rule in the state was a move to disenfranchise the people of the state, come 2015 elections.
He therefore urged members of the National Assembly to use their constitutional powers to frustrate the move, saying that the imposition of the emergency rule in the three affected states was unconstitutional.
He added that none of the seven conditions that warrant the imposition of emergency rule prevails in Adamawa before its imposition, but that out of political expediency the president declared emergency rule in the state.
On its part, the Borno state government is not taking any position yet on the matter.
When contacted last night to state the government’s position, Governor Kashim Shettima said his administration’s top priority at the moment is securing the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
The governor who spoke through his Special Adviser, Media, Isa Umar Gusau, said his government was still studying the president’s proposal for extension of emergency rule and would make its position known in due course.
Senators from the North-east also strongly opposed the president’s request. Senators Ahmed Lawan and Ali Ndume vehemently opposed the renewed quest on the grounds that the initial efforts failed woefully to address the insurgency.
Lawan, who is the secretary of the Northern Senators Forum, said: “The state of emergency had been operated for 12 months now and will end on the 19th of this month. I think that should be the end.
According to him, “Instead, the 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 the state of the art technology and weapons.
“The President of the Senate, 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 operations in the area”, he said.
After reading the letter, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal directed the committee on rules and business to raise the matter on the floor today, for deliberations.
Lawmakers who spoke to one of our reporters shared different views on the planned extension.
Rep Aminu Sulaiman (APC Kano), while reacting said: “I don’t want to preempt the position of the House on the matter, but we would look at the issue critically to see whether the situation has improved during the period of emergency rule or not”.
Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC Kano), however said the lawmakers will do everything possible to resist the extension of emergency rule. “What happened to the states in the last one year under emergency rule? Did the situation improved? I see no reason why the emergency rule would be extended”, he emphasised.
Rep. Abdularahman Terab, (APC Borno), however said he is in full support of the emergency rule. “Anybody who wishes that the emergency rule to be removed should provide us with an alternative security.
Even the civilian Joint Task Force are doing what they are doing with the support of the military.
“If you go to Bama or Maiduguri and tell them that you don’t want the state of emergency in the state, they will kill you, because they know what the military’s doing there”, he said.
Based on the last extension which will expire on the 18th of this month, the president’s request, if granted will commence from the 19th of this month and end on the 19th of September.