Consequently, the lawmakers urged President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of urgency, make the declaration to rout Boko Haram insurgency .
The Senate had on resumption of plenary after its long recess, resolved after a thorough deliberation on a motion sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and co-sponsored by over 100 senators on the frightening level of insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country titled ,”Threat to National Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Nigeria by Insurgents,” urged the president to declare total war on Boko Haram.
It also mandated its leadership, relevant chairman of committees on security and senators from the affected states of the North to urgently meet with President Jonathan on the need to declare and prosecute total war on Boko Haram insurgency to avoid a total annihilation of the entire territorial integrity of the country by the insurgents.
Speaking on the motion, leader of the Senate, Senator Ndoma Egba regretted that despite the emergency rule in parts of the North Eastern region of the country, security situation in those areas has continued to deteriorate to the extent that within the last couple of months scores of lives and property worth billions of Naira have been destroyed by the insurgents.
He expressed serious concern that the insurgents are laying claim to some local governments in Borno and Adamawa states and declared same as a caliphate under their control as if those areas were no longer part of Nigeria.
The Senate Leader further observed that the level of re-grouping and resurgence of the insurgents was becoming alarming and their activities inhuman.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in his contribution, said Section 180 (3), states that “if the federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the president considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection 2 of this Section from time to time, but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.”
Ekweremadu furthermore stated that: “If we don’t resolve the problem in the North-east, we may not have elections in 2015 because Section 180(3) of the Constitution says if the country is at war, there may not be elections. Of course, the country is at war now. Democracy is being rolled back in North-east. It is very important as the Senate to take a firm stance to resolve this problem.
“Section 2 of the Constitution says Nigeria shall be one indivisible nation. Many houses and villages are no longer part of this country. Fighting this war is more important than any other thing. There should be suspension of electioneering activities until these wars are over. People are so disturbed and have been disenfranchised and some areas are no longer part of this country…All electioneering activities should be suspended until this war is over.”
Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, also expressed reservations over the level of attention the Federal Government has given to the fight against terrorism in the North East, pointing out that, if the kind of concerted efforts made to prevent escalation of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) were made towards tackling the insurgency, the matter would have been a story of the past.
Senator Solomon Ewuga, in his comments, said, “in supporting this discussion, we should refocus attention to the state of Nigerian Army. Generally, there is low morale within the military and until it takes up the responsibility, it cannot give us value. There are clear indications that the military are not trained. We have to also consider the state of the leadership of the military. They have integrated so much into civilian life”.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba State pointed out that the problem with the military in tackling Boko Haram was that some of the military personnel were sympathetic to the insurgents, calling for the affected states to train the local vigilante groups to help fight the sect, while the military should look inward to fight out the saboteurs in the Force.
“I am calling on the Nigerian military to look inward. The problem of vigilante can be taken care of by absorbing them into the military. Until we look inward and purge the military of saboteurs, who act as informants, we will appropriate millions of naira and there will be no result. The military must search themselves and look at those who are very serious. The political class is also not helping matters. There are those who are benefiting from this problem and they will not want it to stop”, he argued.
In his concluding remarks on the motion, President of the Senate, David Mark, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the war against the insurgents was going and appealed to all Nigerians to support the authorities to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
“Truly, we are at war because when they declare your land, you don’t need them to tell you that they are in a state of war. Boko Haram has declared war on Nigeria and we must fight it as war. All of us cannot carry gun to fight but we all have roles to play in bringing the situation to an end. This is serious enough; we will fix the appointment to meet with Mr. President so that we can report back to the house, ” he stated.
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