Service chiefs have begun exploring the options of ending the insurgency in the North-east as the May deadline for the expiration of the emergency rule imposed on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, draws near.
Having had the option of extension on the rule, the service chiefs however were considering other options in view of the gathering opposition from Northern leaders to the extension of the state of emergency on the three states which President Goodluck Jonathan first imposed on the states in May 14, 2013.
The rule was first extended in November, following its end six months after it was put in place, after the president requested and got approval of it from the National Assembly. However, it has been revealed that the military chiefs would argue for the renewal of the emergency rule on the states, at a security council meeting held recently. Although it was learnt that they were soliciting for the lifting of the state of emergency on Adamawa State, where attacks by the insurgents were not as intense as in Borno and Yobe States. But the Northern leaders do not agree to this decision. Some elders from Borno and Yobe States have urged the federal government not to renew it, saying there would be no justification for doing so.
The Northern leaders have shown their altercation against extending the emergency rule for the second time in the two states. It was their opposition that made the federal government to consider invoking the terrorism law to check the insurgency should the Northern leaders succeeded in persuading the National Assembly not to grant the president’s request for renewal, if he sends it to the legislature.
A military top chief said: “We have recorded successes against the insurgents, but what we are desirous of is having total victory. And based on this, we are going to recommend to Mr. President for an extension of the state of emergency.”
It was gathered that the military high command had been meeting with a view to adopting a common position during the enlarged security meeting that is scheduled to take place on or before Friday with Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Dasuki (rtd), among others.
Another source said: “I can tell you authoritatively that the service chiefs will certainly call for an extension of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to enable them flush out the insurgents completely. The military does not want to leave the job half done. If the military withdraws now, the pockets of the insurgents scattered around will regroup and start again.
“If we don’t crush the insurgents totally, then we would have lost the battle and initiative to them. We cannot afford that because it will be disastrous.”
The other reasons, the military are demanding an extension is to enable its officers and men conduct searches, hold suspects beyond 48 hours for proper investigation. “Honestly, speaking, the state of emergency has not deprived the people of anything, except the occasional restrictions in movement,” he added.
Last week, the three governors of the troubled states, Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe) and Kashim Shettima (Borno) also said there was no reason to contemplate an extension of the state of emergency in any of the three states. Commenting on the position of the Borno and Yobe elders that terrorists have continued to wreak havoc in spite of the state of emergency, a senior military officer revealed claiming that ignorance of the nature of the war against terror was responsible for such unguarded comments.
He said: ‘’we are fighting a group who has nothing to lose, who are under erroneous assumptions that they are fighting a religious war. For them, the more the damage they wreck, the happier they become because they have no code of conduct.
“It is a difficult war but we have risen to the occasion as our intelligence gathering has improved.”
Also, the National President of the Nigerian Security Watch Forum, Mallam Abubakar Dabaki, said it was obvious that the elders were merely playing politics with security issues.
He said: “If the so-called elders are in denial about the need for the extension, the military cannot do so, having sacrificed this much and gone too far. The Emir of Fika knows why he said so; he cannot rule his domain from outside, ditto Air Marshal Daggash (rtd). The fact of the matter is that Senator Zannah and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe cannot remember when last they visited home. Yet they want state of emergency lifted.”
However, the federal government has been advised against extending the ongoing state of emergency rule. The residents of the states argue that extending the emergency rule, will increase the apprehension in the area rather than lead to immediate resolution of the Boko Haram crisis. Expressing concern, the claimed that there hasn’t been a tangible result since the inception and implementation of and that the federal government should know that it is the right time to change strategies.