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Northern Senators Kick Against Emergency Rule Extension As Senate Votes Wednesday

Nigeria's senate in session

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja.

After a crucial deliberation for about two hours behind closed door over President Jonathan request for another six months extension of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, Senators from the north vehemently opposed the idea.

Nevertheless, the Senate will decide on Wednesday whether to approve the request or not.

President Jonathan had in a letter read on the floor of the Senate yesterday by the Senate President, David Mark, requested it to approve another six month extension of Emergency Rule in the affected three states due to the level of insecurity.

Jonathan in the letter titled: “Re: Extension of the Period For Proclamation of a State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States” , said it has become imperative to request the approval of the Sebate for extension of the period for the State of Emergency for a further period of six month.

The President who cited section 305 (6)(c) of the 1999 constitution to back his request , argued that the security challenges that warranted imposition of emergency rule in the affected states in May last year, have not abated.

“It is important to state that despite concerted efforts by this Administration to stem the tide of terrorism and insurgency in the affected states, the security challenges that necessitated the Proclamation are yet to abate.

“Consequently, it has become imperative to request the approval of the senate for extension of the period for the State of Emergency for a further period of six months”, he said.

However after about two hours of closed door session over the request, the Senate could not agree as to whether to approve it or not because of vehement opposition against it by Senators from the Northern part of the country, particularly those from the affected states.

In separate interviews with journalists after the closed door session, Senators Ahmad Lawan( APC Yobe North) and Ali Ndume( APC Borno South) disclosed reasons why they were against the emergency rule extension request.

Ali Ndume said approving the request would amount to jumping from frying pan to fire for the people of the affected states as experience over the months, have shown that insurgency worsens the more under the emergency rule than abate in anyway.

He said:” if we are to count the number of villages, Towns and Local Government Councils that have been captured under the emergency rule by Boko Haram insurgents in the affected three states, it will be crystal clear to all, that there is no need for any more extension.

” Under the so called Emergency rule, while law abiding citizens in the affected states are forced to remain indoor from 6pm to 6am, the insurgents for reasons best known to the security operatives, moved freely from one town to the other, capturing them and killing the people at will.”

The position of the people of Borno South far as this request is concerned, is capital NO to emergency rule extension because the state of emergency since it was declared in the three states had taken us from bad to worse.

“Our fears now is that if we extend it again, we are inviting more problems to ourselves because the insurgents would capture more territories during the period.

“As the representatives of my people, my entire constituents are totally opposed to the extension of the emergency rule because it restricts movements of the civilian populace while the insurgents move freely and have a field day.

“When people are sleeping in the night, the insurgents are freely moving around. By 6pm, the whole towns are closed but the insurgents are busy taking control of everywhere.

“Ndume doubted the sincerity of the federal government to the fight against the insurgency and asked urged the relevant military authorities to adopt fresh strategies to combat the menace.

Lawan in his own submissions said, “Although, we will continue deliberations on the issue tomorrow (today ), but I can assure you that we will not approve the emergency rule extension because the president can deploy the military to any part of the country without declaring state of emergency.

“We have a very strong military in Nigeria and nobody can doubt their capacity to handle this insurgency except if the government is telling us that so many things are fundamentally wrong.

“Discussions on it will definitely continue tomorrow but I want to tell you that I am totally opposed to it. I believe that after 18 months of the state of emergency, we should look at other avenue.

“So many options are being advanced which would be concluded tomorrow. What we need at the moment is the massive deployment of troops to quickly launch serious attacks because we had lost so many territories already.

“The request for the extension of the state if emergency is only a waste of time because we had it for 18 months which ended in total failure.

“Other senators who also spoke on the development admitted that the declaration of the state of emergency in the affected states had not achieved the desired objectives since it was proclaimed in May 2013.


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