A division has emerged in the House of Representatives over President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states.
While some of the lawmakers hailed the President’s decision, others said it was a misplaced strategy to combat insurgency in the region.
Though the President has not officially notified the National Assembly in writing as required by the law, the lawmakers expressed divergent views yesterday while speaking with the Nigerian Compass.
Bitrus Kaze (PDP, Jos South/East) said President Jonathan must be commended for taking the decision and sustaining democratic structures in the affected areas. He also urged the President to go ahead and disband the recently constituted Kabiru Turaki-led committee on amnesty for the northern insurgents. "I join many Nigerians in commending Mr. President for eventually mustering the guts to declare emergency rule in certain states where our national territorial integrity is already being compromised by rampaging Islamic terrorists. "The primary purpose of government anywhere in the world is the security and welfare of its citizens,” he said.
Ibrahim Bawa Kamba (PDP, Arewa/Dandi, Kebbi State) opposed Kaze's position. Kamba told the Nigerian Compass that he was not contented with the arrangement. He said, "I’m not contented with the whole arrangement because of the way he declared it and did not follow due process. He was expected to notify the House. I doubt if it will work, because he did it before and nothing happened."
While recommending a way out of the present impasse, Kamba said "I recommend a new committee to be set which will be exclusively composed of religious leaders in the affected areas to address issue of insurgency."
Badamosi Ayuba (ANPP) representing Damabatta/Makoda Federal constituency of Kano State also expressed pessimism over the declaration. He said, "The fact is that this declaration has been done before in some local governments and nothing has changed. "This new declaration is just like giving license to the soldiers to go and humiliate the citizens and to carry out human rights abuses. "Honestly, I don’t support it. By giving security responsibilities of governors to the military, the governors will be made to become answerable to unelected officials."
Similarly, Mohammed Tahir Monguno (ANPP) representing Monguno/Marte/Ngaanza federal constituency of Borno State, said the declaration will affect the people. "It will obviously affect our people. But we are not averse to it. Our concern was the likely dissolution of the democratic structures," he said.