At the expiration of the third tranche of emergency rule in the North-East on November 20, President Goodluck Jonathan is in a fix on the next line of action because of the increasing Boko Haram insurgency in the geopolitical zone.
Jonathan may seek both legal and security advice in the week on the options available to the government.
According to findings by TheNation Newspaper, the president had on May 13 sought the nod of the National Assembly to extend the emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
But the request was granted on May 20 by the two chambers of the National Assembly. By constitutional implications, the third segment of the emergency rule will end on Thursday.
According to investigations, the options available to the president are three. A senior government official said: “ These are ending of the emergency rule, another extension and a declaration of a total emergency with military administrators in charge of the three states. Let me make it clear that the constitution is silent on how many times the president can extend emergency rule in a state or any part of the federation.
“The three states may oppose extension of emergency rule. Also, with the crisis in the House of Representatives, it is impossible for the president to secure a fresh extension of the emergency.”
It was gathered that there were fears of a plot to impose a total emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.
A third source added: “We learnt that there is pressure on the president to declare a total emergency in the three states and appoint military administrators. This may, however, be resisted by the opposition because proponents of total emergency are mostly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Unless the president is tactical, the war against insurgents may assume political colour.”
The development has forced the presidency to be weighing options on the next step in the light of the ongoing seizure of more towns by Boko Haram and the counter-insurgency operations by the military.
A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The president is in a fix on whether to lift the emergency rule in the North-East or ask for more extension.
“Jonathan has up till Thursday to make up his mind on the fate of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. The governors of the three states had come out frankly to say that the emergency rule failed to address the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The president has to be ingenuous in designing ways out. This is why he will be seeking legal and military advice in the next few days.
“With 2015 election fast approaching, it will be difficult to conduct poll under emergency situation unless all the stakeholders reach a consensus. Yet, two of the states under emergency rule are being controlled by the opposition.”
Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution empowers the president to impose a state of emergency with the consent of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Section 305(4) also mandated the governor of a state to ask the president to proclaim emergency rule in his or her state.