- Category: National Security
- Published on Saturday, 31 December 2011 16:58
- Written by Admin
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The state of emergency covers areas worst affected by attacks from the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Borders would be closed temporarily in the north-eastern states of Yobe and Borno, and central state of Plateau.
Mr Jonathan vowed to "crush" Boko Haram, which killed dozens in attacks across the country on Christmas Day.
Speaking at a church in the capital, Abuja, where 37 people died, he described Boko Haram as "cancerous".
Announcing the state of emergency in a televised address, Mr Jonathan said: "The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges."
He added that his chief of defence staff had been instructed to take other "appropriate" measures, including setting up a special counter-terrorism force, Reuters news agency reported.
His remarks follow urgent meetings held with security services.
Boko Haram has claimed a string of major attacks across Nigeria this year.
It bombed the headquarters of the UN in August 2011, leaving at least 21 dead and has targeted police as well. It has also in the past targeted Muslim leaders.
At least 45 people died in the Christmas Day bombings of churches and other targets. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in Maiduguri in Borno State, as well as other cities.
The president said Boko Haram had "started as a harmless group" but had "now grown cancerous".
"Nigeria being the body, they want to kill it," Jonathan added. "But nobody will allow them to do that."
While offering his condolences to victims' relatives at St Theresa's Church in Abuja the president said: "We will crush the terrorists. If there are institutions... which are harbouring terrorists, we will deal with them."
Boko Haram, which originated in Maiduguri, wants to impose strict Sharia law across Nigeria.
Earlier this week, Nigeria's main Christian group warned that the community might have to defend itself if the security forces could not protect it.
Analysts said the move raised the spectre of communal clashes in Africa's most populous nation, which is divided between a largely Muslim north and a mainly Christian and animist south.
The leaders of Chad and Cameroon, which are close to Maiduguri, are reported to have held talks about how they can help prevent the violence spreading across their borders.
Fellow Nigerians, it has become necessary to address you on recent events in some parts of the country that have threatened our collective security and shaken the foundations of our corporate existence as a nation.
2. You are all aware of the security challenges which the activities of the Boko Haram sect have foisted on the country. What began as sectarian crises in the North Eastern parts of the country has gradually evolved into terrorist activities in different parts of the country with attendant negative consequences on our national security.
3. Government in an effort to find a lasting solution to the security threats occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, constituted a Presidential Committee under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the crises. While efforts are being made to implement the recommendations of the Committee, the crises have assumed a terrorist dimension with vital institutions of government including the United Nations Building and places of worship becoming targets of terrorist attacks.
4. 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. Consequently, I have in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of section 305(1) of the Constitution, declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation, namely:
(i) Borno State
a) Maidugiri Metropolitan LGA
b) Gamboru Ngala LGA
c) Banki Bama LGA
d) Biu LGA
e) Jere LGA
(ii) Yobe State
a) Damaturu LGA
b) Geidam LGA
c) Potiskum LGA
d) Buniyadi-Gujba LGA
e) Gasua-Bade LGA
(iii) Plateau State
a) Jos North LGA
b) Jos South LGA
c) Barkin-Ladi LGA
d) Riyom LGA
(iv) Niger State
a) Suleja LGA
The details of this proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly as soon as they reconvene from their current recess, for their necessary action.
5. The Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police have been directed to put appropriate measures in place to ensure the protection of lives and properties of residents in the affected parts of the country. I therefore urge the political leadership in the affected states and Local Government Areas to give maximum cooperation to the law enforcement agencies deployed to their respective communities to ensure that the situation is brought under control within the shortest possible time.
6. The Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with other Service Chiefs, has also been directed to set up a special force unit within the Armed Forces, with dedicated counter terrorism responsibilities.
7. As part of the overall strategy to overcome the current security challenges, I have directed the closure of the land borders contiguous to the affected Local Government Areas so as to control incidences of cross boarder terrorist activities 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.
8. Let me assure our neighbours, especially within the ECOWAS sub-region, of Nigeria’s commitment to its international obligations as provided by the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges and will be reviewed as soon as normalcy is restored.
9. I commend the efforts of our political leaders at various levels as well as our traditional and religious leaders for their support for the various conflict resolution mechanisms and peace building measures that have been initiated by this administration. We call on the citizenry to continue to provide useful information to our law enforcement agencies to enable us arrest the situation.
10. Terrorism is a war against all of us. I call on all Nigerians to join hands with government to fight these terrorists.
11. I wish all Nigerians a very happy New Year.
12. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.