News24

Nigeria lifts emergency in 4 states

2012-07-18 20:33

Abuja - Nigeria on Wednesday lifted a state of emergency it imposed six months ago in four states following a wave of attacks blamed on the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.

"The federal government has after a careful review of the security situation in the affected areas, resolved to end the state of emergency forthwith," Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke said in a statement.

President Goodluck Jonathan imposed the measure on December 31 in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, as well as Niger and Plateau, in the centre of the country after attacks that claimed scores of lives.

He said at the time that the move was needed to "put in place appropriate confidence building measures to improve security in the affected areas," but Boko Haram's insurgency has continued unabated since.

The capital of Borno, Maiduguri, considered Boko Haram's base, was hit by a suicide bomb blast on Friday that killed five people.

Running gun battles between suspected Islamist gunmen and security forces led authorities to impose a round-the-clock curfew in Yobe's capital Damaturu last month.

The Islamists have also hit Plateau this year and political and military leaders said Monday that the state was "under siege" following raids blamed on livestock herding gunmen that killed more than 100 people earlier this month.

Jonathan expressed hope on Tuesday that Boko Haram insurgency would end soon, although he has faced mounting criticism over what some call his failure to stem the violence.

Boko Haram, which has said it wants to create an strictly Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, is responsible for more than 1 000 deaths in Nigeria since the middle of 2009.