Nigeria: Jonathan Declares Emergency in Four States



This Day (Lagos)

Ahamefula Ogbu

31 December 2011


President Goodluck Jonathan has declared State of Emergency in 15 Local Government Areas in four States where there are endemic activities of terror groups.

He also ordered the closure of Nigerian borders through the Local Governments in Borno, Niger, Yobe and Plateau.

He stated in a nationwide broadcast that the areas were notorious for terrorist attacks while the borders closed are believed to be places through which the terrorist groups pass through to carry out attacks as well as pass through them to hide.

He invoked section 305(1) of the 1999 Constitution to declare the State of emergency in the Local Government Areas, adding that he will send the names of the affected LGs to the National Assembly for necessary action.

The list of the states and Local Government Areas affected are:

(i) Borno State

a) Maidugiri Metropolitan LGA

b) Gamboru Ngala LGA

c) Banki Bama LGA

d) Biu LGA

e) Jere LGA

(ii) Yobe State

a) Damaturu LGA

b) Geidam LGA

c) Potiskum LGA

d) Buniyadi-Gujba LGA

e) Gasua-Bade LGA

(iii) Plateau State

a) Jos North LGA

b) Jos South LGA

c) Barkin-Ladi LGA

d) Riyom LGA

(iv) Niger State

a) Suleja LGA

Jonathan explained that recent activities of the terror groups have become a collective threat on the safety and corporate existence of the nation which has prompted the drastic action he took, which according to him, does not negate the protocols on free movement with neighbouring States.

He noted that what began as sectarian crises in the North East gradually festered and evolved into terrorist activities with dire consequences to national security which while he was still taking measures to check, bloomed into dimensions and affected vital institutions of government, places of worship and the United Nations Building.

“While the search for lasting solutions is on-going, it has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country especially within the affected communities.

Consequently, I have in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of section 305(1) of the Constitution, declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation.

“The details of this proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly as soon as they reconvene from their current recess, for their necessary action.

“The Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police have been directed to put appropriate measures in place to ensure the protection of lives and properties of residents in the affected parts of the country. I therefore urge the political leadership in the affected states and Local Government Areas to give maximum cooperation to the law enforcement agencies deployed to their respective communities to ensure that the situation is brought under control within the shortest possible time.

“The Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with other Service Chiefs, has also been directed to set up a special force unit within the Armed Forces, with dedicated counter terrorism responsibilities.

“As part of the overall strategy to overcome the current security challenges, I have directed the closure of the land borders contiguous to the affected Local Government Areas so as to control incidences of cross boarder terrorist activities as terrorists have taken advantage of the present situation to strike at targets in Nigeria and retreat beyond the reach of our law enforcement personnel.

“Let me assure our neighbours, especially within the ECOWAS sub-region, of Nigeria’s commitment to its international obligations as provided by the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges and will be reviewed as soon as normalcy is restored”, Jonathan declared.

He commended the efforts of political and religious leaders who have been working to achieve peaceful conflict resolution of the crises that followed the various attacks and assured them that he would strive to ensure that the situation is arrested.

“Terrorism is a war against all of us. I call on all Nigerians to join hands with government to fight these terrorists”, he said.

Making clarifications on the declaration, the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi said the situation would lead to the creation of Special Forces which will enable training and arming of a special group which he said would be more effective.

He admitted that it will give sweeping powers to those deployed to the affected LGs to search and arrest people suspected to have hands in the activities of the group. They would be arrested and their properties searched without warrant.

He said the emergency state will last till normalcy returns to the affected areas.

Asked if the group would not move to new areas, he replied that the reasoning was that it would be difficult for them to move into new areas when the awareness of their activities was common place.

He said that democratic structures would still stand while they will monitor areas where there are threats of attacks.

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