From ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Kaduna
Ahead of today’s expanded security meeting, called at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan, to take another look at the security challenge confronting the country, Second Republic lawmaker and member of the on-going National Conference, Dr.
Junaid Mohammed, has urged members of the National Assembly not to endorse the request for any extension.
Instead, he is urging them to throw away any such document, forwarded to them by the Presidency, seeking to extend the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, saying that the emergency rule in the last 12 months, has remained “largely unproductive.”
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Mohammed said the inability of President Jonathan’s administration to implement the recommendations of the series of committees set up over Boko Haram, was a clear indication that the government was not serious about combating the security challenge frontally.
He argued that those who said the emergency rule was a ploy to disenfranchise some sections of the north might be right, especially in the light of the proposal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to conduct election in states under emergency rule, a move that has been condemned by some Nigerians, including the governors of the affected states.
“First and foremost, the emergency rule in the north has been unproductive, it has not yielded any positive result. And it has not made the necessary facilitation in terms of growing the economy of those states. I say so because, even if you have an on-going insurgency, which is being checkmated effectively by an on-going counter- insurgency warfare, you still have to allow the economy to work so that people can have jobs, people can go to the market, that is one.
“Number two, the National Assembly has lost all semblance of credibility because they felt that their duty was to rubber-stamp the request by the President in respect of the declaration of a state of emergency. When they approved the last one, no reasonable probe questions were asked, they just approved it. Yet, people are just being killed, making the situation even worse.
“Again, committees have been set up, they made recommendations, but you never hear anything. Again, some people closed to the government have been indicted in these whole mess, yet nothing is being done to implement the recommendations.
“This brings me to the very interesting issue of a former governor (name withheld), who everybody knows has been implicated in the birth of Boko Haram. I mentioned his name deliberately because the facts are there. But this man is a friend to the President and so can’t be prosecuted. So, how can you convince me this government is serious about fighting Boko Haram?
“So, the question is, why do they want to increase or extend the state of emergency when the cardinal issues behind the insurgency have not been resolved? And from all indications, the government is not ready to do anything about it.
“On the other hand, I am tempted to believe those saying that seeking the extension was to stop election from holding in those states because the chairman of INEC had told us that if the insurgency continues, the larger part of the north which is under the emergency will not be able to participate in the election.
“Then, we have the interesting situation of the Afghanistan, where election held despite the insurgency. No matter how bad our situation is, it is better than Afghanistan. So, I will urge the lawmakers not to endorse any request for extension of emergency rule. If it ever comes, they should just throw it away,” Mohammed said.