The Federal Government has said it will gradually withdraw military operations in some volatile spots in the country that have attained normalcy beginning from the first quarter of 2020.
It was however silent on the specific states of geopolitical zones where the military would withdrawal its operations.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, made this disclosure to State House Correspondents after the National security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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 (IG), Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai.
The Naval chief explained that the withdrawal of troops will be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace has returned to enable civil authorities (police and civil Defence) assume full control of security.
Ibas, who said the meeting was to review the security operations in the country in 2019, added that the withdrawal was to allow the military to focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression.
“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”, he added.