FG May Declare State Of Emergency In Borno, Yobe, Plateau, Others

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Indications emerged on Friday that the Federal Government might declare a state of emergency in five states in Northern Nigeria, as a last-ditch measure to check the rising killings and insecurity.
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The states are Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau.
A pointer to this emerged as President Goodluck Jonathan held an emergency meeting with security chiefs and some other top government officials in his bid to address the spate of insecurity in many parts of the country, with the latest being the killing of 47 policemen and 10 State Security Service operatives by the Ombatse militia in Alakyo forest in Nasarawa State on Tuesday.

They also destroyed nine patrol vans.
Jonathan, who rushed back to the country from South Africa late on Thursday, was said to have reviewed reports from the security chiefs on recent violence in Baga and Bama in Borno State; Alakyo Village in Nasarawa State; and Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Among those at the meeting that lasted several hours were the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Said; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh; Director-General of State Security Service, Ita Ekpenyong; representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj-Gen. Emmanuel Bassey; and Inspector-General of Police,  Mohammed Abubakar.
The IG wore a black arm band to the meeting as a sign of mourning for the slain policemen.
Others at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (retd.); Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
At a point, Olubolade, Anyim and Oghiadomhe stepped out of the venue wearing gloomy looks while Jonathan and the security chiefs continued with the discussions.
By the time the meeting finally ended, none of the government or security officials was willing to speak with journalists.
They also shielded Abubakar from journalists who sought an interview with him on the killing of the policemen.
He simply described the killing as “a sad development.”
 A source at the meeting however described it as “a stormy session.”
The source said “far-reaching decisions,” some of which would be made public soon, and others which would be kept under wraps for security reasons were taken at the meeting.
Olubolade, who was moved to tears, managed to answer reporters’ questions on the murder of policemen.
State of emergency
Asked to confirm speculations that government was considering the imposition of a state of emergency in some states, he said, “That is not within my purview. They (security chiefs) have the right to call for whatever they want. At the end of the day, the President will take a decision.
“It was an emergency security meeting at the instance of Mr. President. He had to cut his journey short because of insecurity and loss of lives; he was supposed to have been in Namibia. So, he summoned the security agencies to have a quick meeting with us and as you can see, they are still there. The Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs are still with him.
“He is looking at how we can put an end to all these troubles we are having and I think that at the end of that deliberation, you will get to know the outcome.”
He advised policemen against revenge, saying such would not help the nation.
“The security agencies particularly the police will not want to go and revenge. It is not going to help us because they are supposed to protect lives and property. Going to revenge will not douse tension. It will bring about a lack of confidence in the system. So, we will strictly discourage that,” he said.
On the allegation that policemen killed nine of the Ombatse cult members in Nasarawa State first before they retaliated, the minister said, “I wouldn’t know what is true about that. All I know is that the police have a duty to perform and as such, they must not be afraid, they must be equipped, they must be trained, they must do their job because they are under instructions. The police will not just wake up and pick their leaders if nothing has gone wrong.
“The populace must know that anybody can be brought in by the police for interrogation depending on the intelligence the police get; and that is what happens elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, security sources said on Friday that government was considering the military option to dislodge members of the Ombatse cult from their hideout in Alakyo forest in Nasarawa State.
This follows the inability of the police and SSS to accomplish the task.
•Death toll now 47
Saturday PUNCH learnt that 28 riot policemen who survived the attack were released by the militia and returned to their base in Akwanga.
Some of them returned to base without their rifles which they lost to their attackers.
The Public Relations Officer, Nasarawa State Police Command, Michael Ada, confirmed the return of the policemen to one of our correspondents on Friday.
He said that 17 others were still missing, adding that they had been presumed dead since they were yet to be seen two days after.
“The 17 missing policemen are presumed dead because they have been missing for over 48 hours. So this brings the number of the dead to 47. But the search and rescue teams are still searching for the missing officers and they have yet to report back to the headquarters,” Ada explained.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abayomi Akeremale, also confirmed the return of the 28 policemen.
Akeremale told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lafia that some of the policemen held hostage by the group during the attack were released on Friday morning.
He said 17 corpses of the slain officers were yet to be recovered. He explained that a total of 93 policemen were deployed for the operation, out of which 43 were suspected to have been killed.
Akeremale said that a suspected member of the militia had been arrested and was in police custody, adding that investigations on the incident were going on.
Akeremale also said he would visit the Squadron 38 Mopol Base in Akwanga to appeal to spouses and children of the slain policemen, who blocked the Akwanga-Lafia highway on Friday in protest over the killings.
•Protesters block expressway
Meanwhile, no fewer than 200 people travelling through Nasarawa State were on Friday trapped in a village near Akwanga, in an attempt to avoid a roadblock by protesting women and children.
NAN reports that the women and children were protesting over the killing of policemen and other security agents at Alakyo village by the Ombatse militia on Tuesday.
Following the blockade, vehicles tried to go through bush paths but the protesters blocked the paths, saying they were enforcing a restriction of movement through the state.
Some of the travellers told NAN that they were trapped in a remote village off Akwanga, near a local government area primary school and had no protection.
They said the women, who blocked the road, carried big sticks and were already burning car tyres on the bush paths to demonstrate their anger and dismay over the killings.
Commercial transporters and private vehicle drivers were trapped in the blockade.
One of the passengers, Mrs. Victoria Dzeremo, trapped with her daughter, Erdoo, said their vehicle, a commercial bus, had been stopped from further movement few kilometres off Akwanga.
“We have been here in this bush for more than an hour; these women have blocked the road and are demanding for government’s explanation over their husbands’ killings.
“They are here with their children, we have been begging them since to allow us passage but to no avail, the situation is quite serious.
“Now, they have started burning the nearby bush and we are afraid the fire might escalate and affect the vehicles,” Dzeremo said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in-charge of Nassarawa State, DSP Michael Ada, said Akeremale had directed the Area Commander to go and persuade the protesters to open the road.
NAN learnt the protesters insisted that they would only leave the road when their delegation to Governor Tanko Al-Makura returns and gives them a feedback on government’s position.
Source: Punch 

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