The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has kicked against the agitation for the imposition of state of emergency in the troubled states in northern Nigeria.
The NGF made this known in statement signed by its chairman, the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, where it called on the federal government to “ignore the ongoing agitation for a state of emergency in some parts of the country.”
“These requests are being made by people who do not wish our country well and who are bent on plunging the country into a deeper crisis,” the governors noted.
They enjoined the federal government not to “allow itself to be distracted from our collective goal of curbing the insurgency in some parts of our country once and for all.”
The NGF commended the federal government for setting up a committee to explore the possibilities of granting amnesty to the members of the Boko Haram sect and also acknowledged that it is “a good step that government has agreed to cooperate fully with the National Human Rights Commission in the investigation of the killings in Baga.”
The governors condemned the recent violence and killings in Borno, Nasarawa, Benue, Adamawa and some other states, commiserating with the people, the government of those states, security agencies and the families of the victims.
They commended the nation’s security agencies for the selfless sacrifice “they are making in the interest of us all to restore calm to all parts of our country,” urging them to continue to do their job as professionally as possible. They appealed to all aggrieved individuals and groups in the country to “appreciate the fact that violence can never be a solution to any problem.”
‘Be Consistent With Dialogue’
Meanwhile, the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) has also joined the calls against the declaration of state of emergency in some northern states, urging the federal government to focus on dialogue rather than state of emergency.
The forum of governors from the merger party, All Progressives Congress (APC), in a statement on Monday stated that “we have received reports of the Presidency’s intention to declare State of Emergency in Borno, Nassarawa and Yobe States amongst other states in the country.”
The group enjoined the President to eschew such a move, but instead explore “historical perspectives and contemporary conflict resolution methodologies for consideration before taking such a far-reaching decision.”
The governors warned that a state of emergency will further accentuate the high-handedness of the security operatives in the region which has been consistently criticised by the international community.
“A state of emergency would precipitate the conditions for the escalation of such excesses,” they warned.
They encouraged the President to step-up the criminal intelligence gathering machinery of the nation’s security forces with a view to pre-empting the wanton destruction of lives and property. “This, in our opinion, is in tandem with contemporary statecraft which focuses on preventive rather than reactive responses to breaches of peace and tranquility in any state.”
“We believe the presence of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the affected areas is capable of restoring peace if properly coordinated. Thus any attempt to declare a state of emergency would be seen as a mere excuse to remove the governors by every means.”
The APC governors also questioned why such a move would be considered considering the recent dialogue move with Boko Haram initiated by the Presidential Committee, set up to work out modalities of granting amnesty to members of the fundamentalist sect.
“We find the reported course of action incongruent with the posturing of the Presidency which has been reported to be pursuing dialogue with the non-state actors reportedly responsible for the breach of the peace in those states.”
They recalled that the federal government under the leadership of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, was able to successfully contain the Niger Delta crisis by creating the space for credible dialogue with the aggrieved militants, within the framework of a period of amnesty.
“In view of the foregoing, the Progressive Governors’ Forum implores Mr. President to be consistent with the combination of dialogue and mediation which he has already set in motion, and stay action on the planned declaration of State of Emergency in the affected states, which we believe would be counter-productive,” the governors maintained.