ABUJA—The curfew imposed on Yobe and Borno states were relaxed, yesterday, just as the military made progress in the campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency in the two states.
Yesterday, the military announced the arrest of 120 militants at a funeral ceremony for one of the commanders of the Boko Haram killed during a confrontation with the military. Many other militants were reported to be fleeing towards the eastern border to Chad and Niger republics.
Members of the National Assembly belonging to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC are today set to break party ranks as they rally support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s proclamation of state of emergency in three states of the Northeast.
Today’s vote in the Senate and the House of Representatives is coming on the heels of the reinforcement of military forces in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa affected by the state of emergency. At least 200 troops were confirmed to have been ferried into Adamawa State on the southern flank of the northeast presently under emergency rule.
Principal officials of the two houses were, locked in preparatory meetings ahead of today’s vote at press time. One of the principal officials in the House of Representatives told Newsfact Online on the condition of anonymity that the votes to endorse the proclamation would be achieved.
Reps, Senators vote on emergency rule today
At least 240 votes are required to pass the emergency proclamation in the House, while at least 72 votes are required in the senate. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has 200 members while the combined strength of the opposition parties is 160.
Despite the insufficient numbers, a ranking PDP member in the House was confident of the House endorsing the emergency proclamation.
In the senate, the PDP was equally confident of clinching several votes from the ACN and CPC ranks. A prominent ACN official confided, yesterday, that many of them would be voting in support of the proclamation as he said that it was the best for the country at this time.
In the Senate, the combined opposition figure of 38 is also set to be breached as a number of opposition senators defy their party whips to vote in support of the proclamation.
Both the ACN and the CPC had last week raised strong objections to the declaration of emergency rule by President Jonathan last Tuesday.
Meanwhile, it emerged that the special forces deployed in Borno State had, yesterday, retaken six towns from the Boko Haram terrorists and destroyed an equal number of camps in those towns.
120 insurgents arrested at commander’s burial
The liberation of the towns came as soldiers apprehended 120 members of the Boko Haram group who were ironically making arrangements for the burial of one of their commanders killed in confrontation with the military.
Following the onslaught, the terrorists were said to be fleeing towards Chad and Niger Republics but they are being contained by troops at the borders.
A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade on the development said: “The Special Forces have now secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorist camps sited in the vicinity of these localities. The troops are already interacting with locals and citizens assuring them of their safety and freedom from the activities of insurgents.
“Terrorists fleeing towards Chad and Niger Republic are being contained as they have had encounter with Multi-National Joint Task Force in various locations towards the border. Advancing troops also observed a few shallow graves believed to be those of hurriedly buried members of the terrorist groups. In Maiduguri, about 120 terrorists were arrested as they organized burial of one of their commanders who died in an encounter with Special Forces the previous day.
“The arrested insurgents are in custody of the Joint Task Force where they are being interrogated”.
Meanwhile, Defence Headquarters said it has observed the use of photographs purportedly taken in the areas covered by the operations and “wishes to state that the photographs are questionable as they do not reflect any related reality of the social or geographical environment.
Following relative peace witnessed in some parts of Borno and Yobe states, the JTF has relaxed the curfew in order to ease the hardship being faced by the people, especially the poor masses.
A press statement signed by the JTF Spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa and issued to newsmen in Maiduguri said: “The 24-hour curfew earlier imposed in Gamboru-Customs Area, Mari Kuwait Area of University of Maiduguri, Bakin Kogi Area, Kasuwan Shanu-Kofar Biyu Area have been relaxed from 6am to 7pm”.
Other areas/wards where the 24hours curfew have been relaxed include Ruwan Zafi-Customs Area, 202 Housing Estate, Bama Road, 303 Housing Estate Bama Road, Dikwa Low-cost Housing Estate.
Also affected are Simari-Zannari-Kwanan Yobe Area, 505 Abba Gana Terab Housing Estate, Muna Garage Road, Chad Basin Muna Garage Road, Baga Road Federal Lowcost Area, Bolori, Jajeri and Umamari Area.
In a related development, the Special Adviser to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Press Affairs and Information, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego said: “In view of the relative peace in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital and its environs, the curfew has now been relaxed from 6am to 6pm.”
The statement said, “In view of the need to sustain the relative peace that all parts of the state currently enjoy, His Excellency the Executive Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam has approved an adjustment of the hours during which public movement is restricted around the state”.
Consequently the statement added that, restriction on movement now starts from 6.00PM to 6.00AM daily throughout the state with effect from today Monday 20th May 2013.
The decision for this adjustment according to Bego follows a meeting that His Excellency the governor had with heads of law enforcement agencies in the state.
Gaidam therefore urged the public to continue with the exemplary support and cooperation with security agents to ensure lasting peace, even as he enjoined the public not to relent in prayers for the restoration of peace in the state and the country in general.