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Published On: Sat, May 11th, 2013

Ijaw Group Demands Declaration of State of Emergency in Northern States

President Ijaw Media Forum, Mr Asu Beks

The Ijaw Media Forum has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in Borno, Bauchi and Yobe States as a way of curbing the incessant killings by Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist sect.
In a statement issued in Yenogoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Friday, May 10, 2013, the Ijaw group remarked that the level of insecurity in many parts of the North demanded decisive action by Mr. Jonathan, adding that only a state of emergency would be appropriate. The statement was signed by the forum’s president, Asu Beks, and secretary, Presidor Ghomorai.

The group argued that the level of violence unleashed by Boko Haram in some northern states exceeded by far the violence in Plateau State at the time former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared an emergency in Plateau.
The statement further wondered why some Northern leaders were castigating an ex-militant, Asari Dokubo, and presidential aide, Kingsley Kuku, for openly insisting that Mr. Jonathan must be reelected in 2015. Several Nigerian groups, especially those in the North, have called for both Mr. Dokubo and Mr. Kuku to be sanctioned for declaring that Nigeria would be thrown into mayhem if Mr. Jonathan fails in his reelection bid.
But the Ijaw group defended the two Jonathan partisans and accused some Northerners of always threatening Nigeria’s peaceful co-existence.
The statement read in part: “A state of anarchy will not only affect one region but the entire country. The threat of violence by the North if President Jonathan wins the 2015 election will be met by counter threats as long as they continue to make these frivolous comments. The South-South cannot and will not be intimidated. President Goodluck Jonathan will contest for the 2015 presidential election and we shall solidly stand by him. No one except God can stop him.
“What offence have [Dokubo and Kuku] committed? What have they said that has not been said before? Is it because they are from a minority tribe and so should only be seen and not heard? How many times have people threatened the peaceful coexistence and unity of Nigeria? Whose sole right is it to make inflammatory statements and be applauded?
“We are all witnesses to statements by prominent Northerners who promised to make Nigeria ungovernable should Dr. Jonathan be elected President. Former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, and Lawal Kaita of the Northern Elders Political Forum, in 2010, threatened to make the country ungovernable if Dr. Goodluck wins (sic) the 2011 election. We are all witnesses to the security challenges facing the nation since the President was sworn into office.”
The group wondered why some people were opposed to Mr. Jonathan seeking a second term, pointing out that all of Nigeria’s past leaders had sought second terms.
“Why is a second term Presidency for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan a taboo?” the statement asked. It added: “Who is afraid of President Jonathan? Does the President not have the right to contest for a second term as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Every President that has ruled this country since independence has traditionally contested for a second term without hue and cry. Alhaji Shehu Shagari, despite his lack luster performance in office, was re-elected. President Olusegun Obasanjo who came from prison to become President went for a second term without any threat of disintegration of the country.”
The Ijaw group continued: “Let it be stated here that nobody or any one ethnic group has [a] monopoly of violence. This is why we condemn the insurgency in the North as perpetrated by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The Northern elites have stampeded President Jonathan to consider amnesty for the Boko Haram sect. We are appalled at the suggestion that amnesty be given to terrorists who have killed and maimed hundreds of persons as well as destroy (sic) critical infrastructure in the North.”

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