Senators and members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed resolutions endorsing the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states on May 14.
The Senate “unanimously” approved the President’s declaration.
Senate President, David Mark said at plenary that the approval of the declaration followed “an extensive discussion” in a closed session with 100 senators in attendance.
Mark said that the Senate agreed that while leaving all democratic structures in place, the Federal Government must ensure that the operations of the army were fully funded.
“We would like to support the Federal Government in this proclamation of the state of emergency in the three states.
“We also would like to remind the president that Federal Government must fund the operations there properly and adequately.
“As the operation is going on, relief and all medical materials should be as quickly as possible, moved to the area so that the people can benefit from government’s presence.
“We want to emphasise very emphatically that all the democratic structures must be left in place and must be allowed to operate fully and actively.
“They must also be involved in all the efforts that the Federal Government is putting up to bring this ugly situation to an end,’’ he said.
Mark said that that the armed forces must also be instructed to ensure that they operated within the ambit of the law.
“We also would like to emphasise that the armed forces are issued a proper code of conduct, where they are humane and benevolent and make sure that all citizens are treated with utmost respect,’’ he said.
Mark urged the amnesty committee to intensify efforts to bring the situation to an end and explained that government adopted the emergency rule option as a last resort.
“We are conscious of the fact that there was lawlessness, there was anarchy and mayhem in most of the places that are involved in the declaration of state of emergency.
“We appreciate the fact that government must take every possible step to bring this to an end as quickly as possible with minimal loss of lives and materials,’’ he said.
The Senate president expressed concern that in some of local government areas, the insurgents were “flying their own flag, collecting tax and running a parallel and illegal government”.
He advised government to ensure rapid development of the affected areas as soon as the military operations ended and called on the insurgents to embrace peace.
Mark also urged other states not involved in the operation to cooperate with the government in order to bring the situation to an end.
Also briefing newsmen after the plenary, the Senate Spokesman, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe, said that senators in the closed session decided to put aside party differences and took “a decision that was in the interest of the nation.
“In our closed session, we spoke frankly with one other and all agreed that the interest of Nigeria comes before any political leaning, this informed the unanimous vote of senators.’’
Abaribe explained that the Senate adopted the voice vote method to protect some senators from suffering any harm by uninformed members of the public.
At the House of Representatives, members adopted the resolution after a four-hour executive session.
During the session, the members deliberated on the Gazetted copy of the proclamation of the state of emergency sent to the House by Jonathan.
The Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, who read the proclamation on the floor of the house, said that the resolution was in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended.
According to Tambuwal, the constitution specified that that two third attendance of members was required to approve the proclamation.
He said that the 253 members in attendance at Tuesday’s executive session surpassed the number required by the constitution.
The speaker said that the House considered the approval clause by clause with some amendments.
According to one of the amendments, the President shall transmit proclamation of emergency rule to the National Assembly after three days of the proclamation.
Tambuwal promised that the House would `give all support needed’ to the security operatives to enable them succeed in their operations.
He, however, cautioned the operatives to be mindful of law abiding Nigerians, who are not involved in the security threat, and urged them to operate within the rules of the game.
The speaker appealed to the insurgents to accept the hand of friendship extended to them by the Federal government.
Meanwhile, the House has constituted a six-man conference committee to work with the Senate to harmonise the proclamation from the two chambers of the National Assembly.