By Atiku Abubakar
The security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating rapidly and ordinary Nigerians are living in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Nowhere seems to be safe. Farms, markets, schools, homes, mosques, churches, and urban areas are all affected.
Terrorists are spreading their areas of operation beyond the Northeast, into far flung areas as far as Niger State in the North-Central. That is merely hours from our Federal Capital.
Now is the time for decisive leadership and I call on the Federal Government to consider recalling all ex-servicemen and women, who are willing to return to service, and take the fight to the insurgents, until they are rolled back and defeated.
As a former vice chairman of the National Security Council, I am aware that Nigeria has a sizeable population of military veterans, who are alive, and were trained locally and internationally, and 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 effort and stamp out this menace from our nation.
The men and women of Nigeria’s armed forces, whether 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 the motherland.
But they need arms and ammunition. 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.
A situation where terrorists and criminals are better armed than our troops on the battlefront is intolerable.
We need to urgently improve the conditions of service of the men and women of our armed forces. And not just the government.
The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, working in concert with primary mortgage institutions, ought to offer the men and women of our armed forces special concessionary mortgage loans so they can 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.
A nation that rewards courage is one that avoids outrage.
▪︎Abubakar was Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007