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Boko Haram: Army Succumbs To Borno Lawyers' Threat, Relaxes Curfew On Maiduguri

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SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Army may have succumbed to the threat by Borno State lawyers, to drag the military to court if any curfew is imposed on the state in future, as it relaxed the curfew imposed on the state capital, Maiduguri, on Monday.

Reverting back the curfew on Maiduguri to what it used to be before last Wednesday attempt by Boko Haram to overrun the town, the military in a statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 7 Division Maiduguri, Col. Tukur Gusau, said: “The General officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Lamidi Adeosun, after accessing the security situation in Maiduguri and its environs authorised the suspension of the curfew enforced in Maiduguri town.

“However, the normal curfew from 7pm to 6am is still effective. During the period only those on essential services like ambulance and fire fighting vehicles on duty would be granted passage.

“The GOC once again thank the good people of Maiduguri for their understanding and cooperation towards the total eradication of insurgency in Borno State.”

Members of the state chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) had faulted the decision of the 7 Division of the Nigeria Army, Maiduguri to impose a curfew in the state, describing it as a violation of the power reposed in the state governor.

According to the lawyers, the decision of the military to impose curfew on the city beyond 48 hours was in flagrant disregard to the sections of the Nigerian constitution that gives such powers to the state governor alone.

In a statement issued on Monday and signed by the chairman of the Maiduguri branch of the Borno NBA, Barrister Abdulwasiu Alfa, the lawyers condemned what they described as an attempt by the military to run a parallel constitutional powers with an existing democratically elected government in the state.

The statement read: “We have carefully gone through the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (as amended) and did not find the source of the power of the military to restrict movement of people within a state especially when the state is not under an emergency.

“The NBA is not aware that there are two state governors in Borno state. The Law recognises only one; and he is the only one that is vested with such powers over the state. The era of military tyranny is long gone in the history of Nigeria. Today, the military should either remain in the barracks of go to Sambisa Forest and fight the insurgents.

“The military has no business subjecting civil populace to military tyrannical laws such as the one at hand. The restrictions of movement by the 7 Division under whatever pretext is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever. “We challenge the military to disclose to the public which Law empowers them to make Laws in Borno state. We are not in the state of war.

“It is important at this stage to remind the Borno state government that security of lives and properties of the people is in its hands. Government must protect it having sworn to do so. We find the lukewarm attitude of the state government towards protecting the rights of its people from abuse.”

Calling on citizens of the state to continue to be law abiding, the lawyers threatened to drag the military to court if it should impose further curfew on the state.