- President Buhari says the withdrawal of military will be a gradual process to prevent the collapse of peace achieved in several areas
- The president, however, explained that the withdrawal was necessary to allow the military to face its primary duty of defending Nigeria against external threats
- Legit.ng's poll had shown that a sizeable number of Nigerians were uncomfortable with the withdrawal of military despite assurances given by the police
Following an outcry, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he would not speedily withdraw military forces maintaining security across the country.
The presidency revealed this in a statement released by President Buhari's media aide, Garba Shehu on Friday, January 3.
In the statement which was re-released on Saturday, January 4, President Buhari said the 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 said the withdraw exercise will be gradual and carefully planned, not abrupt or arbitrary to jeopardise the success already recorded by the military.
Reacting 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.”
President Buhari explained that 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.
He said: “You don’t need to worry. We will not expose our people and their communities to harm or danger.
“The withdrawal is to allow the military to 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.
Legit.ng notes that President Buhari's assurance came just days after a Legit poll showed the plan to withdraw troops deployed in strategic areas across the country was not going down well with Nigerians.
A cross-section of Nigerians, who participated in an online poll conducted by Legit.ng, said they preferred that the army remains stationed strategically than for them to withdraw and the men of the Nigeria Police Force take over.
Legit.ng also reported previously that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue said he would meet with President Buhari over concerns that the military's Operation Whirl Stroke may be withdrawn from the state since peace has been restored there.
The governor made the disclosure on Sunday, December 15, through a statement by his spokesman, Terver Akase.
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