Nigeria Declares State of Emergency After Attacks

Posted December 31st, 2011 at 7:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in areas hard hit by violence blamed on the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.

In an address on state television Saturday, Mr. Jonathan said the measure is in force in parts of Yobe and Borno states in the northeast, Plateau state in central Nigeria, and Niger state in the east.

He said a temporary closure of borders in those areas is needed to address security challenges and restore normalcy to the country.

“All Nigerians will collectively fight this terror. We will crush them. We know what happens in other countries that is why I always say 'yes, there has been a terrorist attack, but there is not a magic wand to wave it off' because we know it has been happening in other countries but collectively we'll bring it under control and finally crush it. We begin from tonight to take some different measures, different approach to fighting Boko Haram.”

The move came following a series of Christmas Day attacks in northeastern Nigeria, including four that killed about 40 people, most of them Christians.

The violence is blamed on Boko Haram, an Islamist sect that has claimed responsibility for multiple bombings and shootings in the north and in the capital, Abuja. The group's name means “western education is a sin.”

The violence is raising fears that the militants are trying to ignite sectarian strife.

The opposition has criticized the Jonathan administration for failing to control Boko Haram.

Nigeria is roughly divided into a mostly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.