Northern Senators Resolve To Vote Against Emergency Rule Extension

SoEPunSenators from the northern part of the country yesterday opposed the request by President Goodluck Jonathan to extend the emergency rule in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.

President Jonathan had on Tuesday asked the Senate to approve the extension of the one-year-old state of emergency in the three northeastern states because of the rising insurgency attacks.

Jonathan, who made the request through a letter he addressed to Senate president, David Mark, and read during plenary by the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, said his request was based on the fact that terrorism was yet to abate in the affected states.

However, following a three-hour closed door meeting, the northern senators resolved to vote against the extension of the state of emergency whenever the request is tabled before lawmakers for debate.

Briefing Senate correspondents after the meeting, chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, Senator Umaru Dahiru based their opposition on the fact that the extension of the emergency rule is not the best way to fight the insurgency which they noted has crippled socio-economic activities in the affected areas.

He said, “Our meeting this afternoon discussed basically, the issue of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Everybody in attendance made contributions and a lot was said.

“The majority position is basically that we are not going with the state of emergency. That is our categorical position because we are not convinced that it is only the issue of emergency rule that could make the security personnel achieve success in the area.

“We believe a lot of things ought to be addressed in order to conquer the issue of insurgency. So, our own position is that we are not going to support extension of the emergency rule in the area.

“We are going to engage the three governors in the affected states; we want to know what went wrong to be able to come up with better ways to tackle the crisis. However, the government must work for the benefit of its citizens.

“The leadership of the affected states and our forum here are saying no to emergency rule.

“The constitution requires two-third majority in terms of voting. Of course, we are going to vote on the issue. If we can out-number them during the voting, fine; but of course, our position is that we are going to vote against it.

The senator added that the way out of the lingering crisis would be made public after the committee set up by the forum had submitted its report and conveyed the recommendations to government.

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