The National Publicity Secretary of the apex socio-
political group of the North, Arewa Consultative
Forum, Anthony Sani, tells LEKE BAIYEWU, why the
region rejects the state of emergency declared by the
Why does the ACF think the state of emergency in
the northern states might not work?
The state of emergency might not work because of
our past experiences when state of emergency was
applied in Plateau State, and later in some local
government areas in the North-East that never
Moreover, what happened in Baga was actually the
use of force, which did not go down well with many
Nigerians and the international community because
they thought excessive use of force tends to inspire
more extremism than solve the problems of
insurgency. ACF thinks that since state of emergency
amounts to mere increase in the use of force, it may
not work concurrently with dialogue. The forum
prefers that the committee in place be given a
chance by both governments and Nigerians.
But many believe military intervention is the best
solution to the recurrent terrorists' attacks in those
Those who believe military option can work are too
quick to forget the fact that military was used in
2009 and 700 members including the leader of the
sect were killed. Yet, the sect has remained unbowed.
They also forget the experiences of Baga and the
controversy that has come with it. But since the
government, which has more facts than those of us
in the ring side, believes the fight against terrorism
is multidimensional and has gone ahead to declare
state of emergency amid dialogue, I think Nigerians
have no choice but to support government's efforts
to succeed in both the state of emergency and the
dialogue that now exist side by side. This is more so,
if it is true that the sect has overrun some local
government areas in those states, thereby making
the situation a conventional conflict with the state.
This may be easier to confront formally by the
Do you see abuse of human rights by military
personnel during their operations in the states?
There are rules of engagements for all military
interventions across the globe. Nigeria cannot be an
exception to the rules of the game, considering the
recent outcry against the manner force was applied
in Baga. I believe the military is too intelligent not to
know the negative effects of operating outside the
rules of the game.
Do you think military involvement in national
assignments such as elections and security is a
threat to Nigerian democracy?
Military involvement in national assignments does
not promote democratic culture and attitudes. But
what do you want them to do in situations where
democratic institutions are overwhelmed? If
Nigerians do not want military in national
assignment, then they should strengthen the
democratic institutions for performance, as well as
make judicious use of their democratic rights as a
way of promoting purposeful leadership.