With effect from the first quarter of 2020, the federal government will withdraw military troops from some volatile parts of the country that have attained peace.
The withdrawal of troops will be done after an assessment to determine areas where peace has returned, to enable civil authorities assume full control of security.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the security meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday in Abuja, however did not specify the states where the military would withdrawal its operations.
According to the naval chief, the meeting was to review the security operations in the country in 2019, adding that the withdrawal was to allow the military to focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression.
He said: “It is the work 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.
“Also, you will remember that additional 10,000 personnel were approved for the police recently for recruitment.
“You will recall that the various operations in the country in the northeast, northwest, north central, the southeast as well as the southwest where all members of the armed forces are taking part as well as the intelligence agencies have ensured that we all enjoyed a better holiday period that has just been observed.
“We also recalled that in those areas where the military have been able to achieve desired objectives, from the first quarter of next year, the civil authority will be preparing to take back those responsibilities as the military draws back its forces from those areas, to enable it focus its attention on other emerging threats and areas of concern.”
Ibas further added that President Buhari has directed that the council and the members of armed forces ensure a peaceful society in 2020, adding “to that effect, we are more than determined to continue from where we stopped in 2019 and to ensure that we sustain our various operations to ensure a secured Nigeria for all of us.”
The council is made up of the Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); heads of security agencies in the country, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique.
Others are the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai.