President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the Senate to approve the extension of the one year old state of emergency in the troubled states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe because of the growing activities of the insurgents in the North East.
Jonathan, who made the request through a letter he addressed to Senate President, David Mark, and read on the floor today by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said his action was based on the fact that terrorism had yet to abate in the affected states.
The letter read in part: “May I respectfully draw your attention to the State of Emergency Proclamation 2013, in respect of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe Staes, which was approved by the National Assembly.
“By virtue of the provisions of Section 305(6)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the Proclamation aforementioned would have elapsed after six months from the date of approval of the National Assembly.
“However, after due consideration of the representations made to the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the effect that, 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.
“It will be recalled that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had upon consideration of the realities of the security situation in the affected states that had been placed before it, graciously approved by resolution, the extension of the State of Emergency for a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the subsisting period.
“Distinguished Senators, 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 sects on civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rates.
“In view of the foregoing, 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.
“I look foward, Distinguished Senate President, to the usual kind expeditious consideration of this request by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Please accept, as always, the assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.”
Ekweremadu was silent on when the letter would be discussed, but the senator representing Yobe North, who is also the secretary of the Northern Senators Forum, Ahmed Lawan, vehemently opposed the extension in an interview after the plenary.
Lawan, however said he would support any move by the Senate to increase funding for military operation in the affected states.
“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.
“That is not to ssy that the military operation in the North East should cease. Instead, the Federal Government should deploy more military personnel and modern equipment in 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 battlefront to have state of the art technology and weapons.”
Lawan said the military should be motivated so that they could produce results, saying: “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.”