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Boko Haram has installed emirs in Gwoza and Dambua, Borno State, the two towns that fell to the Islamist sect two weeks ago, Senator Ali Ndume told his colleagues as Senate resumed from its two-month recess yesterday.This is even as the Upper Chamber urged President Goodluck Jonathan to declare total war on the insurgents, advising him to mobilise all resources and efforts to that effect.
Senator Ndume, who represents southern Borno, told lawmakers that Boko Haram has literally sacked two emirs and installed their own on Monday.
His words: “I represent southern Borno and Gwoza. The challenges we are facing are more serious than what we have faced before. We, the people of southern Borno, particularly Gwoza, parts of Adamawa and Yobe know that it’s presently occupied!
“I read here on the Senate Order Paper about a threat. It’s no longer a threat; somebody is occupying that place and he’s declared it a caliphate!
“Yesterday, a new emir was installed by Boko Haram in Dambua. The original emir is taking refuge in Abuja. Boko Haram installed a new emir in Gwoza…Recently, we conceded the extension of state of emergency and it was because it could get out of hand. Can it get out of hand more than what is happening now?”, he asked.
Chairman of the Senate Committeeon Investment, Nenadi Usman, pleaded with the chamber to “look at the issue holistically because there are internally displaced persons in my constituency too.
The resolution for the declaration of total war came through a motion moved by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) and 107 senators tagged: “Threat to national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria by insurgents.” The Senate resolved that the Boko Haram challenge had risen beyond mere insurgency to a full-scale war against the Nigerian state. The lawmakers declared that only a declaration of total war by the President will offer a sustainable solution to the menace of the sect.
Ruling on the motion, Senate President David Mark, insisted that Nigeria must move beyond bandying words with Boko Haram and declare total war now.
“When Boko Haram moved from kidnapping, killing of people and destruction of property to occupation of parts of Nigerian territory, it has declared a total war on Nigeria. There is no difference between what Boko Haram is doing against Nigeria and what an enemy country waging war in Nigeria would have done.
“The issue is beyond that of mere internal security. It is about how we execute the war. If Boko Haram has captured most of the parts of the country we represent and has created a caliphate, it means that some of the senators from those areas can no longer be in this chamber. This is why we must pay urgent attention to the matter,” he said.
Mark also noted out that the threat posed by Boko Haram war will affect the 2015 general elections. He, however, insisted that the issue at stake is far beyond that of election. He said: “There is no question of election, it is not even on the table now. We are in a state of war. All of us cannot carry guns to fight but we all have roles to play in bringing the situation to an end”.
The entire Senate leadership, chairmen of committees that have roles to play on national security, defence and intelligence as well as all senators from the three affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are now scheduled to meet with Mr. President and deliver the resolutions of the Senate.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion with a warning that there may not be elections in Nigeria in 2015 if Boko Haram insurgency persists. “We must make no mistake about this; if we don’t secure the North East, there may not be elections in 2015. If anyone thinks because he is from Lagos, Enugu and it doesn’t concern him, that person is mistaken…Democracy isn’t working in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states. We must take a firm stand now.”
Meanwhile, the Upper Chamber also resolved that the $1billion external loan requested by the President shortly before it embarked on long recess be granted with accelerated approval.