The emergency rule declared by the Federal Government in the volatile Northeast States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, is a failed experiment that should not have even happened in the first place, the Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Lawan, has said.
Mr. Lawan said the state of emergency declaration did not yield the desired results other than the gross infringement on the rights of residents of the affected states. He, therefore, called on the federal government to adopt a different approach to the security challenge rather than an extension.
The emergency rule will terminate in the second week of May. It was first introduced in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe on May 14 last year for an initial period of six months. At its expiration in November 2013, it was extended for another six months.
But the commissioner, while speaking with reporters on Friday, said “the first declaration of the state of emergency was actually an experiment which Nigerians thought it would at the end of the day work.
“But after six months, it turned out not very successful. We thought there was going to be a change of strategy, to get the desired result; unfortunately, there was no change of strategy, rather we experienced an extension”.
The Attorney General argued that if during the second part of the emergency declaration, the security situation in the affected places deteriorated, “then it means the declaration of state of emergency in these states is not the answer in the first place”.
“The possible answer should be a change of military strategy on the side of the central government so that terrorism and criminality could be fought frontally, once and for all in the country”.
Mr. Lawan warned that any further extension of the state of emergency would not only infringe on the fundament human rights of people, but would also ignite what he called a “constitutional warfare in the country”, especially as it affects the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
“Any further extension of the state of emergency will infringe on the rights of the citizens, particularly the right of movements as regards the curfews imposed. Besides that Nigerians will be going into the polls to elect their leaders, another declaration of the state of emergency will have a negative effect on both the federal and state government”.
“For instance, we are going into the year that all Nigerians will embark on electioneering campaigns, that is the more reason the federal government has to, as a matter of urgency, deploy strategy to combat this situation rather than imposing another emergency that will
still have a very negative effect on the people”, he said.
Mr. Lawan noted that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government has also been affected by its failure to address the insecurity in the country.
“Take a look at a clear example with the PDP zonal rally in the northeast, which is normally held in Maiduguri, being the zonal political capital of the northeast; but this time around, despite
their might and power, they had to run to Bauchi to hold it there because of the fear of coming to Maiduguri.
“That is to say if the federal government fails to tackle the security situation in the northeast and other increasingly volatile states in the country, its electoral interest will be affected, especially as regards the fulfillment of the 25 per cent polls requirement in all the states in north-east region before anyone could form the federal government.
“So it is in the enlightened self-interest of the federal to work hard and ensure that there is enough peace all over the country before the election, else it would turn out to be a constitutional and legal issue at the end of the day”.
The commissioner lamented that the federal government was “playing hanky-panky” with the issue of security and asked that the military be encouraged and adequately equipped to help tackle the prevailing problems.