President Goodluck Jonathan says the Federal Government has adopted a cautious approach to rescuing the kidnapped female pupils of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, to avoid causing more trouble for the people.
“…we were even advised — and I will not mention where it is coming from — that we should not even comb the Sambisa Forest, and try to harry [the terrorists out of the forest], that when you do that, they [the terrorists] will disturb and even enter into the population, and they would be creating more trouble,” Jonathan said during Sunday’s presidential media chat.
At the chat, the president also defended the wisdom behind the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, saying only those who are unrealistic cannot see the effectiveness of the emergency rule.
“The state of emergency is effective. You see, a number people think differently when you talk about state of emergency. Some Nigerians even feel that if you declare state of emergencies, the political administrations must collapse,” he said.
“That is their own idea of a state of emergency — [that] the governor will leave, the state assembly will be dissolved, local government chairmen and councillors will leave. That is their own thinking of a state of emergency; and as long as those people are there, they feel that the state of emergency is not complete.
“Some feel that if it is a state of emergency, you are going to handle internal security issues as if you’re fighting international war. Even in international war, conventional soldiers operate under strict guidelines. You are aware of soldiers and governments being prosecuted for war crimes. And that is the advantage criminals have over soldiers. Criminals use cartridges to fire a car. But a soldier cannot. A soldier cannot use ordinary rifle; it has to be during confrontation.”
He maintained that declaring a state of emergency in the states was to help security personnel with leverage required to minimise litigations, and not to upturn the political situations.
“If we don’t declare state of emergency in Borno State, for example, and if Mr. A or Chief A or Alhaji A has weapons in his house, we can’t enter that house until we get search warrant,” Jonathan said.
“As a security person, you can’t enter that house until you get search warrant. You cannot force yourself in; you will be sued. It is against our laws — to protect people. But the state of emergency helps us, so that if we suspect that you are hiding a criminal or hiding weapons in your house, we can enter your house without you suing government. So it is not as that if you declare state of emergency, you wipe out everybody.
“There is no conventional war where you have troop that you’re going to conquer and take over that territory and it ends. So in a state of emergency, you don’t expect the Nigerian Air Force to go and blast everywhere and wipe out everybody. So if somebody says the state of emergency is not successful, they are not being realistic, and they are saying that out of frustration, because they feel that maybe it has taken too long for this crisis to end.”
Asked if it would be extended, he said: “We are consulting. And if we need to extend it, we will extend it, because I believe that we are succeeding and it has been very helpful for the operations.”