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Nigerian president declares state of emergency

Video by Katerina VITTOZZI , Rochelle FERGUSON-BOUYAHI

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2013-05-15

Soldiers were being deployed in northeastern Nigeria for a planned offensive against Islamic extremists after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in three states under threat from Boko Haram.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday imposed a "state of emergency" in three states menaced by Islamist group Boko Haram, saying the level of violence called for "extraordinary measures".

"I hereby declare a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states," Jonathan said in a televised speech, referring to the three northeastern states which have been among the hardest hit by the insurgency.

He said more troops would "immediately" be deployed to the areas.

Jonathan made a similar move in January 2012 following a spate of Boko Haram attacks, but in that case the decree only applied to specific local government areas in four states.

In seeking to impose the measure across a whole state, Jonathan must first secure the approval of Nigerian legislators, which he pledged to do.

The enhanced powers that come with the measure are unclear.

When former president Olusegun Obasanjo invoked the measure twice in 2004 and 2006, he removed democratically elected governors and installed appointed administrators to manage the states, both former military officers.

Jonathan vowed that he would not employ that measure.

"The governors and other political office holders in the affected states will continue to discharge their constitutional responsibilities," he said.

The Boko Haram insurgency, which the group says is aimed at creating an Islamic state in the country's mainly Muslim north, has cost some 3,600 lives since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

But a series of recent brazen attacks have raised concerns that insurgents have become emboldened, with Jonathan saying that the latest violence amounted to "a declaration of war".

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-05-14

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