One month into the State of Emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the Presidency has expressed satisfaction with the effect of the emergency rule in the affected states, reassuring that normalcy is gradually being restored.
This came as former military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), yesterday admitted that the security situation in the country had greatly improved of recent, advising that Nigerians must learn to live together in peace.
The Presidency attributed this to the gallantry of the Armed forces and other security agencies and the co operation of the local communities, while commending the cooperation of the youths in the affected states.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Presidency said: “Markets are being re opened, children are returning to schools, sacked communities are being re-inhabited while commercial activities in major towns in the affected states are approaching pre-insurgency period.”
According to him, “Perhaps most gratifying is the new development where citizens, especially youths, are now fully co-operating with security agencies to hunt down these insurgents and hand them over to the Military.
“Without doubt, these youths are the new national heroes who have risen up to the occasion in an unprecedented patriotic fashion to work together with their government by going after their tormentors. This is heart-warming and clearly indicative of an awakened consciousness of civic responsibility”.
However, Okupe refuted some media report that 8,000 Nigerians were fleeing to Niger Republic as a result of the emergency rule, stating that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Borno State Government have confirmed that only 126 Nigerians have so far been displaced by the operations.
He also limited that the bulk of the refugees referred to in the report were Nigeriens returning to Niger Republic, their home country.
Accordingly, Okupe said: “It is, therefore, gratifying that Nigeria is winning the war on terror and that the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a State of Emergency in those three states is timely, effective and strategically unassailable.
“The results have proven that the opposition political leaders who opposed the decision on the emergency rule as well as the proscription of terrorist groups are actually clueless and unfortunately blinded by their political pursuits.”
Meanwhile, Abdulsalami has said despite the turbulent challenges facing democratic governance in the nation since 1999, the country had made tremendous achievement.
The retired general stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Jos, the Plateau State capital after a condolence visit to the former Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, who lost her father, Mr. Paul Kattien, about a week ago.
According to him, "the security situation in the country, I will say, in the last one year, things have improved. It is step by step. It is unfortunate that we found ourselves in this situation up to the extent that state of emergency has been set up in some states. Hopefully, Nigerians will join hands to ensure that we bring peace to our country.
"Peace is the responsibility of each and every one of us. We have a role to play. Like I said, all the perpetrators of mischief, live among us, they are our brothers, they are our sisters, we have to play our citizenry role by reporting such miscreants to the appropriate authorities."
He also urged the media to exercise its social responsibility role by reporting issues that will unite and bring peace in the country rather than overheating the polity.
He said: "You have a responsibility, you can educate our people, and you can inform our people but please when you are doing that, do it in a responsible way. Do not inflame the situation. You should find a way of reporting issues without exaggeration."
Abdulsalami, also appealed to security operatives to live up to expectations, urged the citizens to cooperate with them and also be security conscious, and report perpetrators of violence to the appropriate authorities.
The retired general was equally in Jos penultimate week, where he commended the governor of the state, Jonah David Jang, on the return of peace to the state, and also on the infrastructural development in the state, adding that the state had witnessed a facelift.