Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
In the wake of increasing terrorist activities in the Middle Belt and the Northeast, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the federal government to review its policy of releasing so called repentant terrorists.
He said that for federal government to think that it could de-radicalise these individuals in so short a time is wishful thinking, noting that many people, including himself were of the opinion that the upsurge in terror activities are coming after the release of such detainees.
Atiku in a statement he personally signed yesterday, said that the increasing deaths of the country’s servicemen at the hand of terrorists and criminals, especially in the Northeast and Middle Belt, was a clear sign that the troops need to be better funded and better equipped.
The former vice president therefore called for increased funding for the military, adding that increased funding would ensure that the military is well equipped and their morale boosted enough to contain and defeat insecurity in Nigeria.
Atiku said that while it is true that funds are scarce, he said, “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.”
He added, “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.”
He said he has been traveling all over Nigeria, and that he has met with both Muslim and Christian clerics who tell him that in the Northeast and Middle Belt, they now officiate over more funerals than they do marriages and child dedications, adding that this is heartbreaking.
“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.”
Atiku also urged the National Assembly to take action to appropriate funds for the military on a fast-track basis, stressing that 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,” he said.