Jonathan Declares State Of Emergency In Borno, Yobe, Adamawa States

In what appears to be about the boldest step taken by the Federal Government in tackling the insurgency in the northern part of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in three states, namely: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

In a nationwide broadcast, President Jonathan said the growing insecurity in these troubled states compelled him to exercise his powers as enshrined in Section 305 Subsection 1 of the Nigerian Constitution, which empowers him as the chief security officer of the country to declare a state of emergency in any troubled area.

The President said the state of emergency is a necessary step to halt the insurgency of the dreaded Boko Haram members who have turned down the offer of dialogue and amnesty extended to them by the Federal Government.

Describing the sect’s activities as a calculated attempt to undermine the sovereignty of the country and as a declaration of war, President Jonathan said the activities of the terrorists have “prevented the government from performing its constitutional responsibilities” and caused fear among Nigerians.

Click HERE to read the full text of President Jonathan’s speech.

The Boko Haram sect has been terrorising residents of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, raiding security and government establishments. On 16 April, the group raided Baga in Borno State, a town near Lake Chad that sparked clashes with soldiers, resulting in the death of nearly 200 people.

The attacks by the sect members, which have killed hundreds since 2009, involved suicide blasts as well as coordinated gun and bomb assaults on the security forces and other symbols of authority. The recent attacks in the North-East have raised concern about the increasingly brazen tactics used by the insurgents, who have insisted they are fighting to create an Islamic state in mostly Muslim northern Nigeria.

They also stormed the commercial centre of Bama, also in Borno State, in a convoy of seven vehicles, launching coordinated pre-dawn attacks on the military, police and several government buildings.

The Boko Haram conflict is estimated to have cost 3,600 lives since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

Under pressure over his approach to containing the violence, President Jonathan created a panel to seek an amnesty deal with the insurgents.

The declaration of state of emergency in the three states came barely hours after the amnesty panel, headed by the Minister for Special Duties; Kabiru Turaki met with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa for what was later referred to as a “frank talk” on government’s position in dealing with the insurgents.

Governors Oppose Emergency

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) had earlier kicked against the imposition of state of emergency in the troubled states in the North, insisting that the federal government should “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.

The Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) also joined the calls against the declaration of state of emergency in the crisis-ridden northern states. The group had 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 would further accentuate the high-handedness of the security operatives in the region which has been consistently criticised by the international community.

Nigeria Army Backs Amnesty For Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army has thrown its weight behind the federal government’s proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents.

Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin addresses JSTF counterinsurgency troops.

The Director of Army Public Relations; Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru told journalists at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, that exploring amnesty option, does not undermine the competence of the military.

He disagreed with insinuations that amnesty is sort as government’s last resort because of  unsuccessful security operations.

Brigadier General Attahiru said quick response patrol groups have been deployed to patrol designated areas nationwide, establish military presence along the highways while assuring Nigerians of the Army’s commitment to fighting terrorism in the country.

Army Downplays Casualty Figure Of Recent Borno Attack

The Defence Headquarters has reacted to the news all over the media that a gun duel between soldiers and the members of the Islamic militant sect Boko Haram has left almost 200 people dead.

The Director Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Kolade told journalists in Abuja that the information from the Defence Headquarters operations unit suggest that only 25 members of the insurgence were killed while the military lost one solider.

He further stated that the intervention of the military followed a distress call by villagers in the fishing community of Baga on Lake Chad in the northeast Nigeria.

He however did not comment on the civilian casualties in the incidence.

Reports in the media suggests that as many as 185 people have died in the gun duel between members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

Cardinal Okogie Cautions Jonathan Over Amnesty For Boko Haram

As some northern leaders mount pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to grant amnesty to the members of Boko Haram, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has advised the Federal Government to be cautious in its approach to finding solution to the security crisis in the country.

According to the Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, granting amnesty to the fundamentalists must not happen until members of the sect make themselves known and negotiate with the federal government.

While condemning the destruction of innocent lives and property of Nigerians by the sect, Cardinal Okogie, in a statement on Friday, said “it would be callous and unstatemanly of the President to rush into granting amnesty to the sect members without due consideration of the legal, moral and political implications of such a move which he said may send a wrong signal that there was nothing wrong in using criminality to fight perceived  injustice.”

Explaining the he is not against granting amnesty to the fundamentalist sect, the Catholic Cardinal stated that “I am not against considering amnesty if the situation warrants it. But as it is, on what basis are we calling for amnesty for the Boko Haram? We have to be cautious about the way we go about it.”

The Cardinal also asked a number of questions saying “I have continued to ask this question: who are the members of this sect who thrive on human blood? Are they truly Nigerians? What exactly do they want? Why don’t they make themselves available for discussion with representatives of the Federal Government? Until we can be given answers to some of these questions, then amnesty should not be a subject of discussion.”

“Even the bible recommends dialogue as a way out of disputes. Granting amnesty to a faceless group that consistently fails to dialogue with you is a mockery. Besides, how do we compensate all those who have lost their loved ones in the over two years of carnage? These are issues we need to address” the clergy stated.

Defaulting constitutional responsibility

The Cardinal however chided the federal government for allowing the security crisis in the country to linger for too long and failing to take decisive steps to nip the insurgency in the bud at the early state, saying it was now almost impossible to identify the true members of the sect and their demands, from those who are now taking advantage of the imbroglio to score cheap political points at the expense of human lives.

According to him, “when a government defaults in its constitutional responsibility like protecting the rights of its citizens, it loses the respect of all and anarchy becomes the order of the day, as we are now witnessing.”

Criticizing the ruling political class, the clergy noted that “if this were a civilized society, many so-called government officials would have long thrown in the towel. But here the situation is different. Rather than those in authority address the menace head-long, they are busy positioning themselves for the 2015 election.”

Cardinal Okogie while sympathizing with families of those who have lost their loved ones due to terrorists activities, prayed that “God would grant the President the divine wisdom and boldness to address decisively with the enormous security challenges in the country, justly and objectively and not to allow himself to be lured into taken the road to self-perdition for political expediency.”

Boko Haram: Irish Ambassador Says Cease Fire Condition For Negotiation

The ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Patrick Fay has said that there is a need for cease fire between the Boko Haram fundamentalist sect and Nigerian security forces for any meaningful negotiation to commence between the Federal Government and the sect members.

Addressing the national executive members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna, the Irish envoy noted that the security challenges facing the north is not a religious problem but one that was caused by political differences.

He said that the application of force by the Nigerian government to tackle the situation has not yielded any meaningful result hence dialogue remains the only option to address the problem.

National publicity secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani however told the visiting ambassador that the north is in full support of the proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram sect and urged the federal government to continue with the plan in spite of the rejection of the amnesty offer by a faction of the Islamist group.

Northern Leaders Recommend Ways To Resolve Boko Haram’s Insurgency

Despite Boko Haram’s refusal of a planned amnesty offered by the President, members of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council have recommended the use of dialogue as one of the strategies to resolve the security challenges plaguing the country.

The traditional leaders also urged the federal government to also devise strategies that will encourage or lay the foundation for sustainable peace in the country.

The leaders made this known during the presentation of a paper on the best methods by which the Federal Government can contain the activities of the dreaded fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.

The paper was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, on Monday night by the head of the Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, III.

Secretary to the council, Emir of Kazaure, Najib  Adamu who spoke with State house correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, said the issue of amnesty formed part of the strategies recommended to the federal government to foil the Boko Haram insurgents,  however with emphasis on how it can be handled properly.

Adamu said it also includes a better appreciation of the situation and it’s sustainability rather than treating it haphazardly which people believe would be the case.

The Emir also stressed that the meeting was about the state of the nation, the security challenges,  then also sought the appointment and the opportunity of the President to know the councils views on security situation and how to go about resolving the crises.

According to him, the council presentation had also been preceded by long time discussion and deliberation.

Jonathan’s Visit To Borno Was A Missed Opportunity To End Boko Haram – Othman

A public affairs analyst, Mahmud Othman on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan last week missed an opportunity to deal with the real issue surrounding the increasing waves of insecurity in Northern Nigeria when he visited Borno and Yobe States.

Mr Othman, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said rather than listen to the advice of the Borno Elders, who have first-hand knowledge of the real issue surrounding the Boko Haram insurgency, President Jonathan sounded combative in his response to them.

He said what the elders told the president “was an honest assessment of the situation on ground because they are the people there.” But rather than listen to them, the analyst said the president blamed them for the insurgency.

“It’s like blaming the victim for a crime committed,” he said.

He said, “If the Federal Government is really interested in peace that is not the way to handle the situation. Mr President, with all due respect, sounded very combative as if there was some kind of template he was reproducing without editing.”

Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr Othman:

Boko Haram Leaders Are Not Ghost, Jonathan Knows Them – El-Rufai

Contrary to claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that members of the extremist group, Boko Haram are faceless, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said the president knows who leaders of the group were.

Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the Federal Government knows much more about the sect then what they are letting out to the public.

The former minister said, “I think President Jonathan knows the leaders of Boko Haram because at one point he said that Boko Haram members are in his government. Who are those members that have infiltrated his government?”

Speaking at a town hall meeting last week during his visit to Damaturu, Yobe State, one of the areas worst hit by terror attacks, President Jonathan said granting amnesty to Boko Haram members was unlikely for now because members of the group have remained “ghosts” with no one coming forward to admit membership of the sect.

“You cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. Boko Haram still operates like ghosts. So, you can’t talk about amnesty for Boko Haram now until you see the people you are discussing with. When you call the Niger Delta militants, they will come; but nobody has agreed that he is Boko Haram; no one has come forward. If amnesty can solve the situation, then no problem, but nobody has come forward to make himself visible,” the president had said.

El-Rufai Supports Creation Of State, Local Government Police

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said he supports the creation of community police as a means of dealing with the raising waves of insecurity in Nigeria.

Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said once the States and Local Government councils are allowed to have their own police, the government should then review the country’s criminal law and categorise crimes into Federal, state and local.

He said, “I think a large percent of security begins with the community. If you can make the community secure, you are less likely to have crimes at the state level and federal level. If you can make states secure, you are less likely to have crimes at federal level.

“So I am a supporter of community police.”

Listen To Elders Who Were Ministers When You Still Wore Napkin, El-Rufai Tells Jonathan

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan should listen to the advice from the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and the Borno Elders Council on how to deal with the militant insurgence in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr El-Rufai said rather than dismiss the call of the Sultan to declare amnesty for members of extremist group, Boko Haram, President Jonathan should consider the carrot and stick approach in quelling terrorism.

He said, “The government should have an open mind to exploring every solution. If the Sultan of Sokoto speaks, I think people should take what he says with a little bit more seriousness than be dismissive.

“When the Borno Elders, including people that were ministers when President Jonathan was wearing napkin, people like that should be listened to and whatever they suggest should be explored.”

JTF kills 20 Boko Haram members in Maiduguri

Officers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri on Sunday killed 20 suspected members of  fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, in a shoot-out in the troubled capital of Borno state.

A JTF source who does not want his name mentioned, confirmed to Channels Television in Maiduguri, that security forces got an intelligence report that the sect members were having a meeting at a particular location in the metropolis.

He disclosed that as the JTF officers approached the venue, the sect members opened fire; killing one soldier while two others sustained injuries.

But according to the source, the military officers fought back and the gun duel led to the killing of all the sect members in the meeting. .

The source also revealed that a 2001 Toyota Camry car, allegedly stolen for a planned bombing mission by a suicide bomber, was recovered in Maiduguri metropolis.

The Camry, according to him, was abandoned by the suspects and in the vehicle, were explosive devices which revealed the driver was on a suicide bombing mission.

On sighting the security forces on his trail, the suspected bomber abandoned the car and ran away.

Channels Television correspondent in Maiduguri, Jonathan Gopep, reports that some roads were blocked within the metropolis on Sunday as severe searches were being carried out by the JTF on all vehicles.

Earlier in the day, a similar gun battle, occurred between security forces and suspected Boko Haram members at the Bundigari-Powari ward of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital.

 

Senator deplores Jonathan on Boko Haram

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Police, Senator George Akume has decried President Goodluck Jonathan’s inability to tackle security challenges that has been raging the northern part of the country.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Senate Minority leader disagreed that the on-going insurgency staged by the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram is political.

The former governor of Benue state explained that it is more of a protest by a few disgruntled elements in the north which has been exploited by some people who have grudges with the government.

He however called on the federal government to inject more funds into agriculture in the north to reduce the menace of the sect as he said food runs hand in hand with security.