By NBF News
Listen to article

Despite repeated calls for a state of emergency to be declared in Borno State, due to the continuous terrorism attacks by the deadly sect, Boko Haram, the Presidency has declared that since normalcy is gradually returning to the state, there is no need for President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency.

The Presidency has also dismissed insinuations that President Jonathan's hosting of the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, as against the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, violated any law nor smeared the country's sovereignty.

It also debunked rumours that Cameron preferred to visit Lagos because of the activities of Boko Haram and its threats to security, stressing that a second major reason for the visit was the lecture at the Pan African University, situated in Lagos.

Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in his maiden interactive session with State House Correspondents, yesterday described the criticism as unnecessary, explaining that the British MP's visit was a working and not state visit.

According to him, President Jonathan is not under any legal obligation to receive visiting world leaders only in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Abati said: 'Foreign dignitaries are not running away from Abuja. I mean Abuja is not under siege. You will recall, of course, that it was in this same Abuja that Nigeria hosted the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

'And then, some people are saying that it was wrong to have hosted the British Prime Minister in Lagos and that it amounts to violation of Nigeria's sovereignty. The truth of the matter is that the British PM was in Nigeria on a working visit; it was a distinct visit. Diplomat will tell you that there is distinction between a state visit and a working visit.

'And that working visit was targeted mostly at the meeting with the business community and where is the business community principally domiciled if not in the country's major commercial centre, which is Lagos?

'Secondly, the Prime Minister had been scheduled to give a lecture at the Pan African University in Lagos and this was well reported. So, Mr. President going to Lagos to receive him, I don't see how it amounts to violation of sovereignty.

'The meeting was held in State House, Marina and it is government premises. It wasn't as if he was received in a hotel and Lagos is a part of Nigeria and the president can meet with anybody in any part of Nigeria. I just thought this should be clarified.'

Abati also listed seven Acts of the National Assembly forwarded for presidential assent, which President Jonathan has responded to by signing them into laws. They include Evidence; Legal Aid; Industrial Training Fund (amended); Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; Debt Management Bureau (Establishment); Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment); and Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT (jurisdiction on chieftaincy matters).

On calls by Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, on President Jonathan to put to test the implementation of Freedom of Information law, by making available all information to the public, relating to the ill-health and consequent death of the late President Umar Yar'Adua, Abati described the move as a mere suggestion that is not binding on Aso Rock.

According to him, the law was not only meant for Jonathan to be tested but also for every Nigerian, including Soyinka, who wishes to put the new law into test.