Opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) have both criticised the declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
The parties in different statements on Wednesday rejected the emergency rule declared by President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that the use of force would not lead to peace in the troubled region.
The ACN urged the National Assembly to reject the emergency rule and warned it not to “allow itself to be used to rubber stamp a declaration that is largely cosmetic.”
Acknowledging that the President acted within the law and was right to take action on the mindless killings and destruction by insurgents, the parties said the President was wrong in proposing more of the same measures that have failed to yield results over time.
According to the national chairman of the CPC, Mr Tony Momoh, the President’s action can never achieve peace.
On its part, the ACN outrightly rejected the move, saying, the “declaration of state of emergency” is an “action devoid of original thinking and counterproductive.”
The party noted that if “the use of force was capable of ending the Boko Haram crisis, it would have ended a long time ago”, referring to the unsuccessful role of the Joint Task Force (JTF) which has been deployed to the region for over two years and the earlier emergency rule declared in 15 local government areas in the affected states.
“If the declaration of a state of emergency in 15 local government areas in four states in 2011 has not curbed the activities of the insurgents, why extend such measure to other areas? If the use of force in the affected states has failed to curtail the activities of the insurgents, why send in more troops?” the party asked.
According to the ACN “deployment of more troops to the affected states and the use of tougher, scorched-earth tactics against the insurgents…stepped-up militarisation of the states”, adding that it amounts to “an asymmetric use of force in an environment where the insurgents operate within a civilian population, hence it will ultimately be counterproductive as the death toll will continue to mount while the civilian population – who will be caught in the cross fire – will be alienated.”
The opposition also called on the President to disband the recently commissioned Presidential Committee on granting amnesty to members of Boko Haram. The committee members are to reach out to the Islamists to work out modalities of ending the insurgency via amnesty.
“The President should go ahead and disband the committee he recently inaugurated and saddled with reaching out to the insurgents, because by opting to flood the states with more troops under an ill-advised emergency rule, he has succeeded in pulling the carpet from under the Committee’s feet. Who negotiates genuinely with a gun to his head? The committee’s job is over, the members can as well pack up and go home.”
Suspected links to 2015
The ACN also raised suspicion on suspected links of the emergency rule to the next general elections in 2015, alleging that “with the three states militarised, there can neither be electioneering campaign nor voting there.”
“We had warned earlier that as 2015 approaches, the Jonathan Administration will increasingly take measures that will make it impossible to hold election in many states. The over militarisation of some states in the North, the plan to destabilise the South West using, slush funds from the so-called oil pipeline protection contract and the infantile threats from some Niger Delta militants seem to be part of this plan.”
The party reiterated its claim that “the Boko Haram crisis has its roots in years of bad governance that have produced an army of unemployed, unemployable, disenchanted and demoralised youths who are now ready hands and willing tools for those seeking to perpetrate violence. The unprecedented corruption across the land, as well as injustice and extra-judicial killings are also fuelling this crisis,” ACN said.
”Boko Haram is like a bad tree. To kill it, it must be uprooted, instead of trimming its branches. The measures announced by President Jonathan on Tuesday will not deliver the killer punch to this reprehensible sect. There is need to think out of the box,” the statement concluded.
Similarly, the national chairman of CPC; Mr Tony Momoh said the President’s action can never achieve peace.