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Extension of State of Emergency In the Limbo?

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Nigerian-Soldiers-AmbushedThe Senate adjournment to 16th of December, 2014 to enable legislators participate in their party primaries has left the President’s request for an extension on the state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States uncertain.

While the House has out-rightly rejected the request in a special session convened to deliberate on the issue, advising the President to utilize section 8 of the Armed Forces Act and other relevant sections such as section 218 of the Constitution, to deploy more troops, without the proclamation of a state of emergency, the Senate is yet to approve or disapprove the President’s request despite two closed door sessions on the matter and its invitations to the military chiefs, to provide clarifications on the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.

The emergency rule which has been placed in these North Eastern States since May, 2013 has been under criticism on its failure to quell the insurgency as the Boko Haram militants continue to capture and launch multiple attacks in many of the towns in these North Eastern States and increasingly in other states such as Kano and Nasarawa leading to the loss of many civilian lives despite the Government’s rhetoric to bring the insurgency to a quick end.

The stalling of the debate has also led some legislators such as the minority leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to argue that the proclamation has been effectively revoked as the last proclamation issued on 21st May 2014 expired on the 21st November 2014. It is noteworthy that although Section 305(6) of the 1999 Constitution prescribes conditions for the proclamation and extension of a state of emergency, it is silent on how to extend a state of emergency after the period of its proclamation has lapsed.