Done deal: Senate approves extension of emergency rule

by ‘Jola Sotubo

Senate approves extension of emergency rule
The request made by President Goodluck Jonathan to the Nigerian Senate to enable the extension of the period of emergency rule in some troubled states of the Federation has been granted.

The apex legislative house yesterday approved the president’s application for the continuation of the state of emergency status in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.

 The desire of the president for the extension of the original six month duration slated for the emergency rule was attributed to the fact that some security challenges still exist in the affected states and prematurely terminating the state of emergency would be inimical to the successes already achieved.

The Nation Newspaper reports:

Besides endorsing the extension, the Senate also summoned Service chiefs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to a session on the impact of the emergency in the three states.

It also resolved to permit President Jonathan to address a joint session of the National Assembly and present the 2014 Appropriation Bill next Tuesday.

The President, on Wednesday, wrote to the Senate for an approval to extend the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, considered to be the hotbed of Boko Haram insurgency.

Before the Senate’s approval, the lawmakers held a closed-door session, where they examined the alleged differences on the continuation of the state of emergency in the northeastern states.

The senators were also said to have considered a security report forwarded to them on the threat of insurgents in the three states.

A source at the meeting told our correspondent that “faced with the security report and daily atrocities being perpetrated by Boko Haram in the affected states, we had no option than to endorse the extension of the state of emergency in the three states”.

The source noted that though “there were pockets of dissenting voices, who did not want the extension, the weight of what we were told convinced everybody that all is still not well with the affected states.”

The source added: “Our resolution to support the extension in the affected states was near unanimous.”

Before Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session called Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba to move a motion for the approval, he averred that the Senate was briefed on reasons for the extension.

Ekweremadu also said the Senate was briefed on the actions taken by the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation on the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Ndoma-Egba said the Senate’s decision to approve the extension was unanimous.

He added that senators resolved at the closed-door session to invite the Service chiefs and the minister of Foreign Affairs to brief them on the impact of the emergency in the three states.

The Senate Leader recalled, in his motion, titled: Extension of State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, on Tuesday, May 21.

He said the Senate passed a resolution by which the President declared an emergency to curb insurgency and restore peace in the three states.

Ndoma-Egba noted that though commendable progress had been recorded in the three states, more time was required to restore lasting peace to the three states.

He said: “Consequently, in compliance with Section 305 (6c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which states that ‘a proclamation issued by the President, under this section shall cease to have effect after a period of six months has elapsed since it has been in force, provided that the National Assembly may, before the expiration of six months as aforesaid extend the period for the proclamation of the state of emergency or remain in force from time to time, for a further period of six months by a resolution passed in like manner’.

“Accordingly, the Senate resolves to approve the request of Mr. President to extend the emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states on the same terms and conditions as earlier approved and gazetted.”

The motion was not debated when Ekweremadu put it to the other senators.

It was almost unanimously adopted.

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