Insecurity: Recall retired military officers, Atiku urges Nigerian govt
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FORMER Vice President Atiku Abubukar, on Tuesday, advised the Nigerian government to recall the country’s ex-servicemen and women to help in the prosecution of war against worsening insecurity in the country.
Atiku said on his verified Facebook page that, as a former vice chairman of the National Security Council, the nation had a sizeable population of military veterans who were trained locally and internationally.
“It serves no purpose to allow these valuable national assets lie fallow when there is an existential threat to our nation. Call them up, immediately. Mobilise them to the field. The time has come for us to put in all our efforts and stamp out this menace from our nation,” Atiku, a fiery critic of the government and presidential candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party in 2019 general elections, said.
He noted that personnel of the nation’s armed forces, serving or retired, who restored peace to Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and São Tomé as well as Príncipe, should be used to do the same for their nation.
He, however, advised that more arms should be procured by the government, while welfare of the military officers should be enhanced as means of encouraging them.
Atiku argued that a situation where terrorists and criminals were better armed than the country’s troops on battlefront was intolerable.
He said the security situation in the country was deteriorating rapidly and no one was safe from spiralling attacks across the nation.
The septuagenarian said as further motivation for the troops, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with primary mortgage institutions, ought to offer personnel of the armed forces special concessionary mortgage loans to enable them to own homes.
He further advised that private sector should 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. A nation that rewards courage is one that avoids outrage.”
Retired soldiers, comprising personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy operate under a body called ‘Nigerian Legion’ to pursue common agenda such as payment of their pension by government, supporting government with information on security, among others. Some of them work as guards at government and private establishments in the country.
Nigeria has been faced with unprecedented security challenges since the civil war that spanned July 6, 1967 to 15 January, 1970.
Following calls by Nigerians on the Federal Government to seek help from outside the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari had, at a meeting with the United States Government on April 27, urged the country to relocate its Military Command for Africa, known as U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), from Germany to Africa.
The ICIR had reported on April 27 how the National Assembly advised the president to declare state of emergency on insecurity in the country and recruit more soldiers to boost the war against insecurity, following an overwhelming insecurity threatening continued existence of the nation.
While Nigeria’s North-East battles with insurgency, its North-West and North-Central confront banditry and farmer-herder crisis. Her South-East recently joined the league with unprovoked attacks on security formations and innocent civilians by gunmen in the region.
The South-West is faced with herder-herder feud, with move for secession by aggrieved people in the region gaining traction.
There have also been threats from various youth groups in the South-South to return to era of destruction of oil assets in the region, in a move to block the nation’s earnings from oil, which is one of its major revenue sources.