Central Nigeria declares emergency

Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has declared a state of emergency in the central Plateau State, which has been wracked by fighting between Christians and Muslims.

    President Obasanjo has sacked the governor of Plateau State

    Obasanjo invoked emergency powers on Tuesday to suspend the elected governor of Plateau, where a Christian militia killed more than 200 Muslims earlier this month.

    The president also issued a stern rebuke to a second governor over last week's sectarian violence in the city of Kano, which left more than 35 dead.

    "The situation in Plateau State, to say the least, constitutes a challenge to our democracy. We need to take very serious action to stem the tide of what has become a near mutual genocide," Obasanjo said.

    "It constitutes a grave threat to law and order and a great danger to security in Plateau State, and the neighbouring states. It is, therefore, clearly a threat to the security and unity of Nigeria," he warned.

    "I hereby declare a state of emergency in Plateau State. The governor and his deputy by this declaration will go on suspension and cease to be in charge of the affairs of Plateau State for six months," he added.

    Unprecedented sacking

    The elected governor's sacking by the president was the first since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

    "We need to take very serious action to stem the tide of what has become a near mutual genocide"

    Olusegun Obasanjo,
    Nigerian president

    Obasanjo suspended Plateau's state assembly and appointed a retired general to replace the "incompetent and lackadaisical" governor.

    Under Nigeria's 1999 constitution, a state of emergency goes into effect immediately, but must be ratified by the National Assembly within two days.

    For the past three years, Christians and Muslims have been fighting over farmland around the towns of Yelwa, Shendam, Wase and Langtang, about 300km east of Abuja in Nigeria's central highlands.

    Hundreds of people have been killed, the slaughter of more than 200 Muslims in an attack on Yelwa on 2 May being the most recent attack.

    Last week, rioting erupted in the northern city of Kano when Muslim youths targeted Christians to avenge for the Yelwa massacre.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?

    Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?

    Or does it just suffer from the misfortune of being a neighbour of the US?

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.