Posted by Leon Usigbe, Abuja | 4 January 2020 | 1,131 times
President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured Nigerians that the planned withdrawal of the military from areas where peace had been restored will not be done in a manner that will expose communities to more risks of attacks.
The president’s assurance followed reservation expressed in certain quarters about the consequences of military withdrawal from some troubled spots across the country.
The decision to withdraw the troops was taken at this week’s meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, who announced the decision to State House correspondents after the meeting, had said that the troops engaged in internal operations will be withdrawn in 2020 after assessment of the situation in areas where they are presently deployed to enable civil authorities (police and civil Defence) assume full control of security.
While not giving the particular places the military will withdraw from, he had said that the areas affected will be handed over to the police and civil defence after such areas had been dominated and stabilised by the military.
But in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), the president said the withdraw exercise would be gradual and carefully planned, not abrupt or arbitrary to jeopardise the success already recorded by the military.
The statement said the president’s reassurance was in reaction to concerns and appeals from governors and community leaders over the proposed withdrawal, President Buhari said the “administration will not abandon citizens in need of protection.”
He urged Nigerians, especially public affairs analysts, to carefully study the statement following a security council meeting with service chiefs that the withdrawal of troops will be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace had returned to enable civil authorities assume full control.
President Buhari said where it is determined that the withdrawal will not in any way jeopardize peace already achieved, the military pullout will be in a careful and gradual way.
“You don’t need to worry. We will not expose our people and their communities to harm or danger,” the President assured.
“The withdrawal is to allow the military focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression. It is the duty of the police to handle internal security since Nigeria is not at war.
“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will support the police to provide internal security. When it is time to withdraw, nothing will be rushed,’’ he added. (Nigerian Tribune)
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