Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (Photo:Reuters)
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday asked the country's parliament for a six-month extension to the state of emergency in three northeastern states riven by Islamist militant violence.
"I most respectfully request the distinguished senators to consider and approve by resolution an extension of the proclamation of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the current time," Jonathan wrote in a letter seen by AFP.
Jonathan's request, which was widely expected, came on the eve of the first anniversary of the declaration of a six-month state of emergency designed to curb the threat posed by Boko Haram fighters.
The special measures approved on May 14, 2013, saw a surge of troops into the region and efforts to disrupt planning of attacks such as cutting the mobile phone networks.
The initiatives appeared at first to have been successful, as the militants were pushed out of urban centres.
But attacks continued and even escalated in hard-to-reach rural areas, particularly in Borno state in border regions, with Boko Haram apparently able to strike at will.
Lawmakers unanimously approved a request to extend the state of emergency by a further six months on November 7 last year after Jonathan said the threat had not been contained.
Since then, Boko Haram attacks have increased and largely focused on civilians rather than previous targets such as government, police and military installations.
A month ago, militant fighters kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok, Borno state, which has led to global outrage and an international effort to rescue the 223 still missing.