ABUJA, Nigeria – Lawmakers in Nigeria’s lower house on Wednesday, November 20, unanimously backed extending the state of emergency in the country’s northeast where Islamists are waging a brutal insurgency, giving the measure final approval.
President Goodluck Jonathan had on November 6 asked for a six-month extension of emergency powers in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where Boko Haram militants have carried out waves of attacks.
The senate signed off the next day, but the lower house had demanded detailed briefings from Nigeria’s security chiefs before voting.
“The House resolves to approve the extension of the proclamation of the state of emergency rule… in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to remain in force for a further period of six months,” the approved resolution said.
The emergency measures were first imposed in mid-May following a dramatic televised speech by Jonathan, in which he declared that Boko Haram had taken over parts of the northeast and displaced Nigerian sovereignty.
The military has since launched a massive offensive against Boko Haram, which officials have described as a major success and left the Islamist rebels in disarray.
But insurgent attacks have continued and hundreds of civilians have been killed, prompting experts to question the effectiveness of the special powers and whether any extension can permanently finish off the uprising.
Boko Haram, which with its offshoot Ansaru was last week blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States, has said it is fighting to create a rigid Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
The conflict has left several thousand people dead since 2009. – Rappler.com