Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is to ask the country's national assembly to extend a state of emergency in three northeastern states hit by fighters when it expires this week, the justice minister has said.

Jonathan ordered troops into Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in May last year.

Several hundred people have died during a five-year-old insurgency in the region by the armed group Boko Haram, and emergency laws were extended in November and again in May this year.

"We just reviewed the issue of the state of emergency and the government will be requesting the national assembly to extend the state of emergency," Mohammed Adoke, the attorney general and minister of justice, told journalists in Abuja, the capital.

After a meeting of the National Defence Council chaired by Jonathan, Adoke said the bill would be presented to parliament immediately.

Boko Haram has defied the state of emergency to continue its attacks, and this week alone is suspected to have carried out suicide bombings at two schools, a market and a petrol station.

Jonathan, who is seeking re-election in February, has vowed to defeat the fighters.

Source: Agencies