Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to consider recalling all ex-servicemen and women who are willing to return to service “to take the fight to the insurgents,” saying the time to declare total war on terror is now.
In a statement on Tuesday, Atiku expressed worry that the security situation is deteriorating rapidly and ordinary Nigerians are living in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
“Farms, markets, schools, homes, mosques, churches, and urban areas are all affected. Terrorists are spreading their areas of operation beyond the North East, into far-flung areas as far as Niger State in the North-Central. That is merely hours from our federal capital,” he said.
He said as a former vice chairman of the National Security Council, he is aware that Nigeria has a sizeable population of military veterans, who were trained locally and internationally, and that it serves no purpose to allow the valuable national assets lie fallow when there is an existential threat to the nation.
“Call them up immediately. Mobilise them to the field. The time has come for us to put in all our effort and stamp out this menace from our nation,” he said.
Atiku said the men and women of Nigeria’s armed forces, serving or retired, who restored peace to Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe can, and should be used to do the same in their motherland.
But he asked for them to be well equipped and compensated.
He said it is incumbent on the federal government to develop a more efficient means of sourcing for weapons and delivering them to the troops at the battlefront.
He also made a case for the urgent improvement in the conditions of service of the men and women of the armed forces.
As part of the motivation, the former vice president suggested that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, together with primary mortgage institutions, should offer the men and women of the armed forces special concessionary mortgage loans so they can own their own homes.
“The private sector should also be encouraged to offer discounted services to them in appreciation of their services.
“There is no sacrifice greater than to lay down your life for the motherland.
“When our military is properly rewarded, they will fight more valiantly and gallantly,” he said.