Senators want President Goodluck Jonathan to declare “total war” on Boko Haram and has now said they will meet with him.
The upper house lawmakers will urge Jonathan “to declare total war on Boko Haram in the northeastern part of Nigeria and wherever else in Nigeria they may be”.
The jihadist militants have “declared war on Nigeria and we must fight it like a war, not like (an) issue of internal security anymore,” said David Mark in Abuja, as Senators resumed work after a two-month recess.
“This has gone well beyond internal security… We are in a real state of war,” the former soldier added.
Jonathan in May vowed a “total war against terrorism” after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state while senior figures in the presidency have also used similar terms for tackling the rebellion.
But the renewed call for greater action from a close Jonathan ally reflects heightened concern over the military’s apparent inability to check the militants’ advance.
Boko Haram have made rapid territorial gains in the far northeast states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in recent weeks that Nigeria’s military has acknowledged posed a threat to the country’s sovereignty.
Troops have been reportedly out-gunned and out-fought in the remote region, with the insurgents’ leader Abubakar Shekau even declaring one captured town part of an Islamic caliphate and saying that they had “nothing to do with Nigeria”.
Senate President David Mark said he was concerned that security had deteriorated in the three states, despite a state of emergency which has been extended by six months twice since May last year.
Before the recess, Jonathan asked lawmakers to approve a $1 billion foreign loan to upgrade the capacity of the military, which was seen as a tacit acknowledgement that troops were being outmatched.
Boko Haram insurgency has increased in Nigeria’s northeast recently, with the terror group taking over some towns in the region. Military has fought hard to retake some of the towns taken by the insurgents.