Mixed reactions have trailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of State of Emergency in four states of the northern part of the federation in the wake of deteriorating security situation in the region as a result of the activities of Boko Haram, which has owned up to series of bombings that have claimed hundreds of lives in recent times.
President Jonathan in his broadcast to Nigerians invoked the powers conferred on him by section 305(1) of the Constitution to declare emergency rule in sections of Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Niger States “to ensure the protection of lives and properties of residents.”
The affected local government areas include Maiduguri Metropolitan, Gamboru, Ngala, Banki Bama, Biu and Jere in Borno; Damaturu, Geidam, Potiskum, Buniyadi-Gujba and Gasua-Bade in Yobe; Jos North, Jos South, Barkin-Ladi and Riyom in Plateau as well as Suleja in Niger State.
Some Nigerians interviewed by Premium Times hailed the President’s action as brave and courageous.
They said the action has renewed their confidence in government as capable of guaranteeing not only the security of the country, but also the protection of the rights of citizens that gave it the mandate to govern.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, Ita Enang, said though the President was expected to inform the National Assembly for formal ratification, he deserved commendation for taking presidential actions to protect the entire citizenry in moments such as this that threaten the country’s corporate existence.
The Former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Victor Attah, said the emergency measures was an indication that the “President had regained some confidence that he is not only in charge, but ready to act.”.
In his own comment, Philemon Egharevba, a Benin-based political analyst, said, “The decision is good for all Nigerians, but, we hope government will act on its words. It is not enough to talk the talk and not walk the walk. If government walks its talk, Nigerians who voted for it will rally round it to succeed.”
For Oluwole Augustine, declaring a state of emergency is not enough. He expects the administration to follow up with a flawless execution plan that would not give perpetrators of the insecurity the chance to regain momentum and continue with their evil enterprise.
Another commentator, Timothy Owoseni, however noted that emergency rule had been long overdue in those areas. He accused the Federal Government of playing politics with Nigerians over the issue, adding the delay till now shows that the President lacks the will to tackle the Boko Haram and their sponsors, “because he seems to be afraid of stepping on some political toes.”