It's the security, stupid!

by Kennedy Emetulu

The President, as usual, ignored this and carried on as though we have no
problem. We have since had the bombing of the UN offices and the escalation
of terrorist activities of Boko Haram, culminating in the Christmas day
bombing of a church in Abuja. This response by the President will not do.

Of course, we will patiently wait to hear the details of the Proclamation
to be transmitted to the National Assembly, but it is obvious that what the
President is calling “decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in
the country especially within the affected communities” do not look
adequate. Also, treating this now as only affecting some communities would
be minimalist. The whole of the country is affected and a nationwide
security overhaul is what is needed. The President must know that the
counterterrorism unit of the Armed Forces he is just trying to put in place
now will take quite sometime to be deployable, as officers will need to be
chosen, trained (some of them abroad) before being deployed. The unit
itself will, apart from operationally getting itself prepared as soon as
possible, be administratively astute enough to meet the challenges of new
security demands without being unduly bogged down by bureaucracy, even as
its actions must be seen not to be against the rule of law. Yet, all this
is still sort of long-term.

What the President ought to be looking at right now is how to effectively
checkmate the activities of terrorists by using the people they are
terrorising against them, including establishing a fast-track judicial
process that must still meet the standards of the rule of law. Nigerians
are yet to be convinced that the administration at any level is committed
to dealing with the problem of security holistically and genuinely. This
mere declaration of a state of emergency in some Local Government Areas
isn’t going to convince them. I urge the President to once again look at
our July proposals. They are still valid for these times and when the
counterterrorism unit is up and running it can only make things better.

Kennedy Emetulu



Saturday, 31 December 2011

President Goodluck Jonathan’s Speech Declaring a State of Emergency in
parts of the North

Fellow Nigerians, it has become necessary to address you on recent events
in some parts of the country that have threatened our collective security
and shaken the foundations of our corporate existence as a nation.

You are all aware of the security challenges which the activities of the
Boko Haram sect have foisted on the country. What began as sectarian crises
in the North Eastern parts of the country has gradually evolved into
terrorist activities in different parts of the country with attendant
negative consequences on our national security.

Government in an effort to find a lasting solution to the security threats
occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, constituted a
Presidential Committee under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Usman Gaji
Galtimari, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the crises.
While efforts are being made to implement the recommendations of the
Committee, the crises have assumed a terrorist dimension with vital
institutions of government including the United Nations Building and places
of worship becoming targets of terrorist attacks.

While the search for lasting solutions is ongoing, 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, namely:

Borno State
a) Maidugiri Metropolitan LGA
b) Gamboru Ngala LGA
c) Banki Bama LGA
d) Biu LGA
e) Jere LGA

Yobe State
a) Damaturu LGA
b) Geidam LGA
c) Potiskum LGA
d) Buniyadi-Gujba LGA
e) Gasua-Bade LGA

Plateau State
a) Jos North LGA
b) Jos South LGA
c) Barkin-Ladi LGA
d) Riyom LGA

Niger State
a) Suleja LGA

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.

I commend the efforts of our political leaders at various levels as well as
our traditional and religious leaders for their support for the various
conflict resolution mechanisms and peace building measures that have been
initiated by this administration. We call on the citizenry to continue to
provide useful information to our law enforcement agencies to enable us
arrest the situation.

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

I wish all Nigerians a very happy New Year.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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