Why we’re withdrawing troops from some states – Air chief

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said the Nigerian Air Force and other arms of the military will be withdrawing troops from some internal security operations because relative peace had been restored in some states and the activities of criminals had been curtailed.

The air chief noted that the military was going to “scale down its involvements” in some of the six ongoing internal security operations around the country.

Abubakar in his New Year message on Wednesday identified the operations as; Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke in the North-Central geopolitical zone, Awatse in the South-West, Hadarin Daji in the North-West, Operation Delta Safe in the South-South and Lafiya Dole in the North- East.

The air chief added the military efforts, particularly in tackling the banditry in the North-West, had paved the way for state governors to be able to hold dialogue with the criminals.

Abubakar said, “Due to the various efforts by us and other security agencies, relative peace has been restored to most parts of the North-Central states. Similarly, the activities of pipeline vandals and other criminals in the South-South and South-West have been curtailed.

“Accordingly, the gains have given rise to the directives for NAF and sister services to gradually scale down involvement in some of these operations. The operations in the North-West zone are also yielding fruits with a gradual reduction in banditry due to effective kinetic operations in early 2019.

“These kinetic operations paved the way for governors in the zone to engage the bandits in dialogue with a view to sustainably achieving peaceful resolution of the security challenges.

“Over the past few years, NAF, along with sister services, had been involved in a number of internal security operations across the country.

“It is gratifying to note that due to your various efforts as well as those of your colleagues in other security agencies, relative peace has been restored to most parts of the North-Central states. Similarly, the activities of pipeline vandals and other criminals in the South-South and the South-West have been curtailed.”

Abubakar urged the troops to re-double their efforts while sustaining the pressure on criminal elements and the Boko Haram terrorists.

“You must nevertheless remain professional in the discharge of your duties and ensure that the rights of all law-abiding citizens are protected to enable them to go about their lawful activities without encumbrances,” the air chief added.

Written by Olaleye Aluko, Abuja, published on Punch Newspapers