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Published On: Wed, May 21st, 2014

Senate approves extension of emergency rule with conditions

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senate-chamber_anti_terrorism_billBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Senate yesterday approved the request by President Goodluck Jonathan for additional six months extension of the State of Emergency in the three states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, even as the upper legislative chamber attached eight conditions to its approval.

Recall that President Jonathan had Tuesday last week, written the Senate President, David Mark, to seek approval of the upper chamber to his proposal of extending the emergency rule in the three affected states.

The Senate, which unanimously approved the extension after two different consultations among themselves, resolved that the emergency rule should be extended on eight conditions, including that the Federal Government should set up ‘Immediate Intervention Funds’ to rebuild the three affected states.

Reading other conditions which the President must agree to before extending the emergency, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, who moved the motion for the approval, said “Senate further urged the President to embark on a full military operation to be undertaken on sustained basis to rout out the insurgents”.

Speaking further, he said the Senate also resolved that the President should prepare and submit to the National Assembly, a supplementary budget to meet any established financial requirements needed to combat the insurgency.

He added that the Senate at closed session resolved that the extension should be in accordance with the Emergency Powers Regulations, 2013 effective in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.

This new extension, according to him, should remain in force for a further period of six months with terms, conditions, content and context as earlier passed by the National Assembly.

He admitted that the security situation in the three affected states has remained daunting in the face of persistent attacks by members of the Boko Haram on the civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rate.

Meanwhile, briefing journalists after the approval of the extension, the Senate Spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the essence of the closed session was to ensure that there is consensus approval for the Presidential proposal.

He listed other conditions which the Senate gave the President for the approval to include: kitting and arming of armed forces deployed to arrest the insurgency and to provide adequate welfare for the troops.

Others, according to Abaribe are: “that Special recruitments into Armed Forces of screened and vetted youths, particularly those in the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) who will receive emergency training and deployed in the trouble zone in order to beef up the strength of the soldiers and win hearts and minds of the locals”.

In addition, the security chiefs, including Minister of Defence, Police Affairs, Service Chiefs, National Security Adviser, Director General of Department for State Security, to report to the Senate on monthly basis, the progress made in combating the insurgency.

Based on this, the Senate may take decisions which may include revocation of the State of Emergency in the States, provided there is significant security improvement in the area.

The Senate President, David Mark, speaking after the Senate approved the extension of the Emergency Rule, said the issues raised by the senators from the affected states are germane and worth consideration of the executive.

“I want to appreciate and thank you for the painstaking decision you took to approve the emergency extension. The issues raised by the senators from the states are germane and should be considered by the executive. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues from the affected states. The issues they raised are national issues and not sectarian”, Mark said.

Meanwhile, one of the senators from the affected states, Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe-North), told journalists that they are in support of the extension provided the President implements it according to the conditions offered by the Senate.

He said that Yobe state government has spent about N9 billion to fight the insurgency in the area since it started, pointing out that Federal Government should stop deducting the funds of the states involved in the emergency rule.

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