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America demands explanation

Posted by By Jamie Dominics, The Sun Reporter, Washington DC on 2006/10/25 | Views: 597 |

America demands explanation

America is paying a closer attention to growing claims that the Nigerian government intends to declare emergencies in several states to extend the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

America is paying a closer attention to growing claims that the Nigerian government intends to declare emergencies in several states to extend the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

As a result, Washington has dispatched a letter to Abuja asking if the state of emergency in Ekiti State is template to prolong the tenure of Obasanjo.

The memo from the State Department wants Abuja to defend allegations that officials have already drawn up states whose chief executives would be removed and replaced by appointed administrators early next year.

The allegations are contained in several petitions by some pro-democracy groups, senior governments officials and the business community. The states targeted include Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Plateau, Zamfara and other states whose governors were allegedly indicted by the EFCC.
American officials citing briefing from Nigerian government officials disclosed the EFCC document would be presented to state houses of Assembly who would be pressured to impeach the governors.

"Governors who counter the move would create an enabling climate like the scenario in Ekiti, forcing Abuja to appoint an administrator", sources said.
With half of the country under emergency rule, President Obasanjo would either continue to rule or appoint an interim administration. Senior administration officials said the issue is being discussed "at the highest levels" between both governments, to restore the confidence of the international community in President Obasanjo's promise to leave next year.

Nigerian foreign ministry official in New York while acknowledging the receipt of the memo said it merely represents a "request for clarification" by America.
"Those who are petitioning the American government are just being mischievous. The government will declare a state of emergency anywhere law and order has broken down. The president has the constitutional mandate to do this not as a ploy to extend his tenure but as his duty to safeguard lives and property," the officials stated.

The European Union countries are also expressing concern about the threats to remove elected governors. Officials in Washington said they are monitoring events closely and are awaiting the response of Nigeria to the American letter.
"We have a lot at stake in ensuring the present administration keeps its promise. We have given a lot of assistance to make this happen because it would strengthen democracy on the continent," an EU official said in Washington.

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