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Jonathan to step up state of emergency in Borno State

The Presidency on Sunday denied reports in suggesting that President Goodluck Jonathan was planning to step up the ongoing state of emergency in Borno State by imposing a military governor on the state.

It said the report was another mischievous attempt to cast aspersions and project the federal government in bad light. It reiterated this administration’s readiness to adhere to the rule of law.

According to the said report in one of the national newspapers, the Presidency has already identified a retired Army General that it intends to appoint as the military administrator of Borno state, based on the belief that “placing a soldier in charge of the state government will send a wrong signal to the recalcitrant insurgents”.

The report further claimed that the move to suspend democratic activities in Borno State was recently revived following a similar attempt May last year when the president first declared a state of emergency in Adamawa State.

However when contacted, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati said the said report did not make any sense, and the country’s constitution does not make any provision for military rule in a civilian regime.

Abati noted, however, that if at all there was a need to extend the ongoing state of emergency in the states of the North that are currently observing it, government would not hesitate to do so.

He said, “it (the said report) is preposterous; it does not make any sense. This is one of the states that government had declared a state of emergency twice, and in the two occasions, it did not remove the governors of the affected states.

“No where does the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria recommend military rule over civilian rule in a democratic setting like Nigeria. And this is a government that has consistently placed emphasis on strict adherence to the rule of law.

“If there is need to extend the state of emergency in the states that are currently observing it, government would do so and not to remove a democratically elected governor. To suggest that the federal government is trying to impose a military government in a democratic dispensation is far-fetched. Let it not be another mischievous attempt in the media to project government in bad light”, Abati added.

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