Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Zamfara
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abukakar has expressed shock over the deaths of some policemen in Zamfara State at the hands of bandits.
Eight riot policemen had last Thursday lost their lives during a clash with bandits at Birnin Magaji Village, Zurmi Local Government in Zamfara State.
Meanwhile, the state police command had claimed that only one policeman died during the clash.
Atiku, in a statement Monday by his media office, said he was pained that those who have dedicated their lives to securing Nigeria are being cut down in their prime.
To this end, the former vice-president therefore called for a state of emergency to be declared not in Borno or Zamfara, but in financing the military and security services.
He said: “Coming so soon after the heavy losses sustained by the Nigerian Army at the hands of Boko Haram in Metele, Borno State, this new casualty figure is a red flag that calls for immediate and decisive action on the part of the leadership of Nigeria.
“As such, Atiku Abukakar calls for a state of emergency to be declared not in Borno or Zamfara, but in financing the military and security services. He calls for an immediate allocation of at least $1 billion to go towards arming and training our military, police and other security agencies as well as providing improved service conditions for the officers and men at the frontlines of the war on terror and criminality.”
The former vice-president also called for a comprehensive probe into the disbursements of the $1 billion special security budget that was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account by the current administration in January of 2018.
He lamented that the country was not getting value for money as there has not been a commensurate improvement in the weaponry and conditions of service of our troops since that withdrawal was made.
Atiku also called for a comprehensive insurance programme for all officers and men of our military and security services such that if they are injured and killed in service, their family receives a sum equal to 10 years salary and allowances.
He was also of the view that families of soldiers and policemen killed in service should be allowed to remain in their official quarters for as long as it is reasonably possible for them to get alternative accommodation and that a special agency be set up to help them in that process.
He therefore condoled with their families and survivors and prays that God grants them fortitude and strength at such a trying time, while also calling for a seven-day period of national mourning, and flags to be flown at half mast and for national awards to be given to these fallen heroes who should be given heroes funerals.