Nigeria declares state of emergency

By Ola Awoniyi
Previous |  Next 
By Ola Awoniyi

12/31/2011 6:10:01 PM -

ABUJA (AFP) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday declared a state of emergency in areas hard hit by violence blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram and announced the closure of part of the country's borders.

He announced the measures after branding Boko Haram a "cancerous" body that was bent on destroying Africa's most populous country and vowing that the group would be crushed.

"While the search for lasting solutions is ongoing, it has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country especially within the affected communities," Jonathan said in a nationwide broadcast.

"Consequently, I have... declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation," he said, listing parts of the states of Borno, where Boko Haram traditionally had its base, as well as Yobe, Niger and Plateau.

He also ordered the closure of the land borders of the affected areas to control "cross-border terrorist activities".

Jonathan said the move was necessary "as terrorists have taken advantage of the present situation to strike at targets in Nigeria and retreat beyond the reach of our law enforcement personnel."

Nigeria has been hit by scores of attacks blamed on Boko Haram, but a wave of Christmas Day bombings particularly targeting churches which killed at least 49 people set off fear and deep frustration nationwide.

"(Boko Haram) started as a harmless group... they have now grown cancerous,"

Jonathan said in an earlier address at the church in the Madalla area near the capital Abuja where the deadliest Christmas bombing took place.

"And Nigeria, being the body, they want to kill it. But nobody will allow them to do that,"

The latest wave of attacks also sparked fears of potential reprisals by Christians, and Christian leaders warned that they would be forced to defend themselves if authorities did not address the spiralling violence.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 160 million people and the continent's largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.

The areas affected by the state of emergency are within Borno state, where Boko Haram has traditionally had its base, and neighbouring Yobe state in the northeast.

The other two areas are in Plateau state, in the country's middle belt dividing the north and south, and Niger state, which is next to the Federal Capital Territory, which includes Abuja.

A number of attacks have occurred in Niger state, including the bloodiest Christmas attack. A bomb attack hit St Theresa Catholic Church in the area of Madalla, killing 44 people there, according to the parish priest.

Borders affected included those in the northeast, where Nigeria shares frontiers with Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Most of Boko Haram's attacks have occurred in the northeast, but it also claimed responsibility for the August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed at least 25 people.

While Boko Haram initially sought the creation of an Islamic state in the north of Nigeria, a number of people have since claimed to speak on its behalf and issued a range of demands.

There has been intense speculation over whether it has formed links with outside extremist groups, such as Al-Qaeda's north African branch and Somalia's Shebab rebels.

in every coconut there is a stranded lake.
By: evelyn20002006@yahoo

Nigeria president meets relatives o

One of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped her Islamist captors narrates her story during a meeting with the Nigerian president in Abuja on July 22, 2014.  By Wole Emmanuel (AFP) Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Abuja (AFP) - Relatives scarred by Boko Haram's mass abduction of Nigerian schoo ...
read more »

Nigerian police foil suicide bombin

Police officers in Kano on July 24, 2014 stand near the mangled remains of a water dispenser in which an explosive was concealed.  By Aminu Abubakar (AFP/File) Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lagos (AFP) - Police on Sunday prevented a female would-be suicide bomber from c ...
read more »

Clashes between Libya army, Islamis

A charred airplane lies at Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital on July 21, 2014 after Islamist-led militiamen stepped up their assault on the country's main airport, which is controlled by rival fighters.  By Mahmud Turkia (AFP) Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) - Sixteen people, most of them soldiers, were killed and ...
read more »