The Federal Government has decided that the Nigeria Police Force will now take over from the military in the ongoing internal security operations in various parts of the country by the first quarter of next year.
The police has the primary responsibility of providing internal security and will assume its duties fully in such areas from next year.
Consequently, the military will pull out from ongoing internal security operations in various parts of the country.
This was part of the decisions reached yesterday when President Buhari presided over the Security Council meeting with Security chiefs and stakeholders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
The Security Council, however, said that the military would first conduct a threat assessment to determine the specific areas where the troop withdrawal would cover.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, gave the details shortly after the meeting while addressing State House correspondents.
He said that the withdrawal will allow the military to focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression and respond adequately to emerging threats.
According to him, “You will recall that the various operations in the country in the North-East, North-West, North-Central, the South-East as well as the South-West 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 recall that in those areas where the military has been able to achieve the desired objectives, from the first quarter of next year, the civil authorities will be preparing to take back those responsibilities as the military draws back its forces from those areas to enable it to focus its attention on other emerging threats and areas of concern.
“Basically, most of the internal security challenges that we have are supposed to be the responsibility of the civil authorities, the police in particular.
“However, so long as Nigeria is not engaged in the war outside, it means whatever internal crisis that we have the responsibility rests with the police.
“In the circumstances that the military has to come in to stabilize the situation, it is only proper that once one area has been dominated by the military and the situation has returned to normal, that the Nigeria Police takes over the responsibility.
“And in this instance, we also have the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, which is supposed to support the police in this regard.
“You will recall also that Mr. President recently approved the recruitment of about 10,000 Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force, hoping that once these Nigerians get the appropriate training, they will be in the position to fill the gaps.
“You are aware that Nigeria is such a big country that we cannot tie down the military even in those areas that the deliverables have been achieved and the objectives achieved..
“I think I better make it very clear that an assessment of what the military will do will be based on the situation on the ground. It is not expected that the military will withdraw when it is apparent that there is still some threats in such locations.
“I am sure we are also aware that the nation is procuring equipment for the military. It is expected that before the second quarter of next year, most of the equipment shall be in place. It, therefore, means that all our hands are put on the ground looking at the technology-backed surveillance that will enable the military to react more efficiently and effectively.
“With that, it is also believed that the Nigeria Police will take the lead in containing security in such areas that must have been assessed to be in the right place to sustain. I don’t believe that a responsible military will want to withdraw when it is apparent that there is still risk that cannot be overcome by the police.”