The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, Tuesday raised the alarm that Boko Haram insurgents have started regrouping again in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
This is coming as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has called on the federal government to recall ex-servicemen and declare total war on terrorism.
Atiku disclosed that terrorists have extended their operation beyond the North-east and were mere hours from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Ndume made the revelation yesterday in Abuja, while briefing journalists after plenary on his bill seeking to establish Federal College of Education Gwoza, Borno State.
The proposed legislation passed second reading on the floor of the Senate yesterday.
The senator representing Borno South said the resurgence of Boko Haram activities should not stop the establishment of more educational institutions in Borno South.
He said the area, which he is representing at the National Assemby existed without a higher institution of learning despite its size and population.
Ndume said, “Last week, 30 soldiers were killed in Mainok on the highway. Yesterday (Monday) just 30km from Maiduguri, the town was overrun by Boko Haram. It took the concerted effort of the armed forces but we lost a major and two soldiers. In Rann Local Government, the same thing happened.
“The problem we are facing in Borno and, to some extent, in Yobe and Adamawa, is that the insurgency is resurging again and that is a matter of concern.
“Part of the solution is not to give up and not to show the insurgents that Nigerians are overwhelmed but to show that despite their terrorist acts and their stance against western education, more institutions would be established.”
Ndume said the establishment of the college would help in transforming the educational fortunes of the people of Borno South, a Senatorial District that has existed without a higher institution of learning despite its size and population.
He said, “The establishment of this college would be an addition to the only existing higher institution (University of Maiduguri) in the state.
“The enactment of this Bill will help not only in transforming the decayed educational infrastructures in Nigeria, but also help in the development of the hitherto devastated North East Region of the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Atiku has said the time for a total war on terrorism is now, stressing that terrorists have extended their operation beyond the Northeast and are now merely hours from the FCT, Abuja.
He said the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating, adding that nowhere seems to be safe.
Atiku urged 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.
He said this in a statement issued on his official Twitter handle, titled, ‘The Time for a Total War on Terror Is Now.’
“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,” he said.
“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 mere 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 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.
Chuks Okocha in Abuja