Governors’ Forum Warns Against State Of Emergency In North

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.

We Will Support Nigeria To Defeat Terrorism – EU

The European Union on Tuesday said it would continue to support Nigeria “until terrorism is defeated” in the country.

The Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, David Macrae (Middle) addressing the media

The Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, David MacRae said this at a media luncheon hosted by the commission in Abuja.

Mr MacRae, however, said that terrorism should be tackled within the ambit of the rule of law.

He commended the Federal Government for its recent initiatives in addressing the issue.

“We welcome recent steps taken by government in recent weeks towards addressing insecurity in parts of the north, including the creation of two committees with the mandate to take a holistic look on radicalisation and factors that fuel it.

“The EU is convinced that a comprehensive approach based on security, good governance, development and improvement of social conditions is key to fighting terrorism and radicalisation”, he said.

The EU Ambassador also condemned the killing in Baga community of Borno state adding that measures should be put in place by the government to protect the lives and property of citizens.

He stated that those responsible for the action should be brought to justice accordingly.

“EU welcomes the decision of the Nigerian authorities to launch a full scale investigation into the Baga incident and is looking forward to thorough inquiry and bringing to justice anyone who may be responsible for any unlawful killings and conduct,” he added.

Baga Massacre: Analyst Says Nigerian Government Don’t Value Its Citizens’ Lives

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Ima Nsa-Adegoke, has said that the Nigerian Government does not place value in the lives of the citizens of the country.

Lawyer and public affairs analyst Ima Nsa-Adegoke

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mrs Nsa-Adegoke said any government that values the lives of its citizen who rather secure it that argue about the number of casualties in an attack.

There has been conflicting reports as to the number of casualties in the clash between operatives of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) and suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Baga community of Borno State. While a Senator from the area said 228 persons were killed, the residents reported gave the casualty figure as 185. The military authority however gave the casualty figure as 25.

For Mrs Nsa-Adegoke, the argument shouldn’t be about the casualty figure because according to her “When military persons go into a built-up area to take out combat, there is always going to be collateral damage.

“Even if it was one person that died who wasn’t a part of the conflict it is bad enough even though as a nation we don’t seem to put a premium on lives because if we did put a premium on lives, Youth Corpers who died in the line of duty shouldn’t be given N5 million.”

She said the panel that the Federal government had set up to examine the details of the Baga carnage should be a judicial one that will ensure that justice is served.

Local Solution Not Amnesty Will Address Boko Haram

On today’s edition of Sunrise, our panelists deliberate on the chances of the newly inaugurated Presidential Committee on granting amnesty to members of the fundamentalist sect; Boko Haram.

The committee was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan to come up with modalities of granting amnesty to violent sect within the next 30 days.

A member of the panel on Sunrise, Mr Sanya Oni, however argues that the federal government will not achieve anything if it plans the solve the insurgency by amnesty.

The Editor of the The Nation newspaper editorial page, advises that the federal government should rather look for a local solution from within the communities where this insurgency is taking place.

ACN Condemns Baga Carnage, Cautions JTF Against Extra-Judicial killings

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the reported killing of 187 people, mostly women and children, in the town of Baga in Borno state during a clash between suspected members of Boko Haram and the Joint Task Force (JTF) last weekend.

The Desolated Baga Town after clash between the JTF and members of Boko Haram left at least 187 dead

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party also warned the JTF against engaging in extra-judicial killings, saying the security agencies must respect the relevant rules of engagement in their ongoing onslaught against the sect in order to spare the lives and property of innocent civilians.

”Without jumping to any conclusion on what really transpired in Baga, we hasten to say that the military, in fighting an asymmetric war against insurgents, must ensure a strict observance of its rules of engagement to avoid the kind of deaths that were recorded in the border town.

”No matter what defence the military may put forward, the mass deaths and destruction in Baga during the JTF-insurgents’ clash portray the Nigerian military as having little or no respect for human rights and the sanctity of lives. This is not a flattering portrayal for a military that has made its mark in global peacekeeping,” it said.

The ACN also criticized the Federal Government’s handling of the killings, calling it slow and disrespectful to the sanctity of human lives.

”In the first instance, it took the government almost 48 hours to comment on the killings, as the presidency only issued a statement on Monday evening over the clash and the deaths which reports said started on Friday.

”Secondly, even the tone of the statement amounted to further victimizing the victims of the clash. Saying that the death toll was ”grossly exaggerated”, as the presidency statement claimed, is simply wrong, because the killing of even one innocent person is one killing too many,” the party said.

It expressed the hope that the probe ordered into the tragedy by President Goodluck Jonathan will not be another window dressing, as allegations of killing of civilians by the JTF in some parts of northern Nigeria have continued unabated despite previous claims by the government to ensure that such killings do not recur.

Alamieyeseigha Is Remorseful, Nothing Is Wrong In Granting Him Pardon – Okupe

The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe has queried the criticism that greeted the state pardon granted a former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts by the National Council of States.

Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said Nigerians must learn to respect the decisions taking by those in positions of authority whether it is favourable or not.

“It is like a parent, it is not every decision a parent takes that is palatable or acceptable to the children,” he said.

The National Council of States, headed by President Jonathan on Tuesday granted state pardon to Mr Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts including Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.

Mr Okupe said he has no apologies for the decision which was taking by an institution created by the Nigerian constitution.

“What is wrong in giving a remorseful sinner pardon?” Mr Okupe asked.

Okupe Calls APC Governor’s Visit To Borno ‘Foolish Bravery’

The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe on Wednesday described the visit of some All Progressive Congress (APC) to Borno State, considered a Boko Haram stronghold, as foolish bravery.

The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe

Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the caché of arms uncovered by the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State after President Jonathan visited the state showed that there was ‘clear and present danger’ in the state.

The presidential spokesman, who was speaking on the achievement of President Jonathan’s visit to Borno and Yobe states said, “I cannot finish this without talking about the visit of the so-called 10 or 11 APC governors, who went on a dance parade to the market square and were waving hands and people are now saying that they were courageous.”

Mr Okupe said President Jonathan and not the governors was the target of Boko Haram.

He said, “The governors that went to Borno were not the target. They are not consequential in the consideration of the Boko Haram. 30 governors can go to Borno state, Boko Haram is not moved by that. The president is their target and that is what makes the difference.

“What was demonstrated was foolish bravery.”

Why Jonathan Can’t Grant Amnesty To Boko Haram – Okupe

The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe on Wednesday said it is too early to ask for amnesty for members of the extremist group, Boko Haram.

Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said comparing the amnesty granted former Niger Delta militants and the demand for amnesty for Boko Haram is illogical.

He said the recent kidnap and reported assassination of seven workers in Bauchi by the sect “undermines any attempt to negotiate and certainly put the idea of amnesty in total jeopardy.”

Military Officer Advocates Amnesty For Boko Haram

A retired military officer, Colonel Tony Nyiam, has welcomed the advice by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, to the federal government to declare an amnesty pogramme for Boko Haram sect members.

Retired Colonel Nyiam who was speaking as a guest on Channels television flagship programme, Sunrise, said “it is a welcome call, in the sense that the way to deal with counter insurgency or terrorism is usually a stick and carrot approach”.

He also commended the security agencies for being effective.

He said counter insurgency cannot be solved through the use of brute force, saying some of the set members have come forward to the Sultan to express readiness to dialogue and drop their arms.

Nyiam further asked the federal government to heed the voice of the northern leaders whom he said speak the minds of their people.

“In dealing with any crisis you have to be locally accountable and here is a statement by the Sultan of Sokoto, who in other words is the leader of that region, so it is the aspiration of that leader of that area, this is what we want’’.