“I hereby declare a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states,” Jonathan said in a message broadcast on state radio and television networks on Tuesday.
He announced that more troops will be sent to the three states immediately, adding, “What we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups, which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity.”
“It would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve.”
The Nigerian president also said, “The governors and other political office holders in the affected states will continue to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.”
According to Nigerian law, the president is allowed to remove officials from their posts and establish a caretaker government.
On May 7, Boko Haram militants launched attacks on military barracks, a prison, and police stations in the town of Bama in northeastern Nigeria, killing 55 people, and helping 105 inmates escape from the prison.
“In these attacks, 55 people including two soldiers, some prison warders, policemen, and civilians were killed,” said Musa Sagir, the military spokesman in nearby Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s stronghold.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009.
Over the past four years, violence in the north of Africa’s most populous country has claimed the lives of 3,600 people, including killings by the security forces.