By Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007)
With the rising spate of terror activities in the Middle Belt and the North East, I urgently call for increased funding for our military so that they are equipped and their morale boosted enough to contain and then defeat insecurity in Nigeria.
It is unacceptable that terrorists and criminals are frequently better equipped than members of our armed forces. It is the duty of the political elite to put aside any political differences and take a United stand to put an end to this.
The increasing deaths of our servicemen at the hand of terrorists and criminals, especially in the Northeast and Middle Belt, is a clear sign that our troops need to be better funded and better equipped. It is true that funds are scarce, but this is an emergency and if we do not take care of an emergency, it becomes a crisis which can lead to a total breakdown of law and order – anarchy in essence.
I have been traveling all over Nigeria and I meet with both Muslim and Christian clerics who tell me that in the Northeast and Middle Belt, they now officiate over more funerals than they do marriages and child dedications. This is heartbreaking and we must do something immediately to change the situation.
Apart from funding, I advise the Federal Government to review its policy of releasing so called ‘repentant’ terrorists. To think that the government can de-radicalise these individuals in so short a time is wishful thinking. Many people, myself included, think that the upsurge in terror activities coming after the release of such detainees, is not coincidental.
Finally, I urge the National Assembly to suo moto, take action to appropriate funds for our military on a fast-track basis. These are desperate times for Nigeria and desperate times call for dedication to duty of all concerned.
I am tired of issuing condolences for unnecessary deaths. I prefer to make a difference and prevent unnecessary deaths amongst the gallant men and women of our armed forces and the civilian population they took an oath to protect.