‘Nigeria Is Not At War,’ Buhari Explains Rationale Behind Planned Troops Withdrawal
Four days after the Federal Government says the Nigerian Military will be withdrawing troops from some parts of the country, the President has explained why the decision was taken.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Friday, clarified the government’s decision, saying there was no cause for alarm.
He believes the nation is not at war and, therefore, the military would withdraw some of the troops in parts of the country.
The President assured Nigerians, especially those living in areas where there were security challenges that the government would not forsake them.
“You don’t need to worry. We will not expose our people and their communities to harm or danger,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
He added, “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.”
A Careful Pullout
According to the statement, President Buhari was reacting to concerns and appeals from governors and community leaders over the proposed withdrawal.
He stressed that his “administration will not abandon citizens in need of protection.”
The President reassured Nigerians that withdrawal of the military from areas where peace had been restored would not be done in a manner that would expose communities to more risks of attacks.
He explained that the withdraw exercise would be gradual and carefully planned, not abrupt or arbitrary to jeopardise the success already recorded by the military.
President Buhari, however, urged public affairs analysts and others to carefully study the statement following the Security Council meeting with the nation’s Service Chiefs.
The withdrawal of troops, according to him, will be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace had returned to enable civil authorities assume full control.
President Buhari where it was determined that the withdrawal would not in any way jeopardise peace already achieved, the military pullout would be in a careful and gradual way.
Following the security meeting held on Monday, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, had announced the plan to withdraw troops during a briefing with State House correspondents in Abuja.
He noted that the withdrawals would be done only after an assessment of the situation on the ground.
The naval chief conceded that the activities of insurgents in the North East was a concern but gave the assurance that the military would comply with the President’s directive to intensify efforts in 2020.
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