Friday, June 20, 2014


17th May, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan has sent a request for extension of emergency rule for another six months to the National Assembly. The request as at today is almost a fait accompli with its approval two days ago by the House of Representatives. Its next destination is the Senate.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wishes to call Senate’s attention to the need to approach the issue with utmost caution. Three states of Nigeria: Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have been under emergency rule for a whole year. Nothing tangible has been achieved within the period. On the contrary, life has become extremely difficult for civilians in the area. Economic activities have dovetailed. Poverty has risen astronomically.    For how long shall we continue to extend emergency rule? Even governors of the zone who had supported emergency rule ab initio are now kicking against it.   


The only beneficiaries of emergency rule in the area are those who collect billions of naira for the purchase of military hardware which never surface for use by soldiers at the frontline who need them. War fatigue has taken its toll on our soldiers particularly in the face of poor welfare, Stone Age weapons and an astounding lack of transparency.


What emergency rule are we talking about when reliable sources reveal that Nigerian soldiers are not willing to confront Boko Haram fighters? Our soldiers flee at the approach of the insurgents. Civilians who expect protection are shocked when soldiers take to their heels. What magic do we expect another extension to perform in the mindset of Nigerian soldiers on ground? Nay, it will only worsen their condition.


How can our president have the temerity to ask for the extension of emergency rule when he could not muster the audacity to visit trouble spots? George Bush visited American troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving Day 2003. He made several other visits thereafter. Obama dared the Taliban by visiting Afghanistan in late March, 2010 and again early in December 2010.


In sharp contrast, the Nigerian president proposed a visit to Chibok where more than 250 girls were abducted by insurgents but he chickened out at the last minute. The visit which was to take place yesterday (Friday 16th May, 2014) was abruptly aborted. Yet the Commander-in-Chief who has failed to ignite the passion for escapade expects our rag-tag soldiers to perform magic under the guise of emergency rule. Life is all about taking risks. It is those who dare to struggle who dare to win.

The argument that the president would have to be driven four hours by road to reach Chibok suffers from poverty of vision, shortage of initiative and lack of imagination. Is there no where to land an helicopter in Chibok town?

Is the girls’ college where the abduction took place a 2 X 2 affair? Couldn’t an helicopter land in the school compound? Couldn’t the Commander-in-Chief’s helicopter be escorted by a couple of jet bombers from the Nigerian Air Force? It is glaring that the presidency has failed to harness resources at its disposal this time around.

MURIC strongly suspects that there is a deliberate attempt to weaken the Nigerian Army thereby prolonging the insurgency in the North. This is designed not only for the purpose of debilitating the region economically but also to disenfranchise the area by keeping emergency rule perpetually in place. It is all about the 2015 general election. This is what MURIC calls political Boko Haram  and it is designed to benefit the ruling party alone.

We therefore appeal to Senate to look critically into its crystal ball and forestall the plan by the ruling party to mortgage the zone under emergency for a pot of porridge. MURIC says ‘No to extension of emergency rule’. Senate should look beyond its nose.

What the zone needs is the presence of a disciplined and better-equipped military, jobs for millions of unemployed youths who have become easy prey for Boko Haram operatives and massive deployment of infrastructure that is capable of transforming the zone to a modern welfare society. But above all, the Commander-in-Chief must lead by example in future.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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