Tuesday, September 16, 2014 6:06 pm
Nigerian senators said Tuesday they will meet with President Goodluck Jonathan to press him to declare “total war” on Boko Haram, in a sign of frustration and concern over worsening security.
The upper house lawmakers will urge Jonathan “to declare total war on Boko Haram in the northeastern part of Nigeria and wherever else in Nigeria they may be”.
The jihadist militants have “declared war on Nigeria and we must fight it like a war, not like (an) issue of internal security anymore,” Senate leader David Mark told members in Abuja, as they resumed work after a two-month recess.
“This has gone well beyond internal security… We are in a real state of war,” the former soldier added.
Jonathan in May vowed a “total war against terrorism” after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state while senior figures in the presidency have also used similar terms for tackling the rebellion.
But the renewed call for greater action from a close Jonathan ally reflects heightened concern over the military’s apparent inability to check the militants’ advance.
Boko Haram have made rapid territorial gains in the far northeast states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in recent weeks that Nigeria’s military has acknowledged posed a threat to the country’s sovereignty.
Troops have been reportedly out-gunned and out-fought in the remote region, with the insurgents’ leader Abubakar Shekau even declaring one captured town part of an Islamic caliphate and saying that they had “nothing to do with Nigeria”.
Mark said he was concerned that security had deteriorated in the three states, despite a state of emergency which has been extended by six months twice since May last year.
Before the recess, Jonathan asked lawmakers to approve a $1 billion (750 million euros) foreign loan to upgrade the capacity of the military, which was seen as a tacit acknowledgement that troops were being outmatched.
The Senate finance committee was ordered to report back in a week’s time on the proposal, the chamber was told.