The Nigerian Army has admitted that it withdrew troops stationed in Benue, Taraba and other troubled states in central Nigeria because of puncity of funds.
The Defence Headquarters spokesman, Brig Gen, John Again, disclosed this Wednesday while briefing the press in Abuja.
The spokesman said the troops were withdrawn due to an acute shortage of financial and logistical resources.
“It requires logistics for military to take part in an operation, which is different from their normal day-to-day,” Agim said at a press briefing at the Defence Headquarters Wednesday morning.
“It also costs money.”
This contradicts earlier statement by the army that the soldiers were still in the troubled states.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the military to embark on ‘Exercise Ayem Akpatuma‘ in February, following a string of killings of villagers in states along the Benue River, as well as Kaduna and Niger states. It was billed as a measure to degrade the capacity of the attackers.
Agim acknowledged that residents are distraught about the withdrawal, but said that for troops to return to the troubled states, additional provisions must be made.
“If the military is deployed for an exercise, it is not for eternity, it is for a particular period. When the period elapses, when there is need for an extension, then there is need for additional logistics for such exercise to continue,” Agim added.
Agim lamented that due to the trust issues residents made life difficult for troops while in deployment, but want the military to remain behind nonetheless.
They “made life difficult for the military, Yet they want them to continue,” Agim said.
“Everybody wanted the exercise to continue. But for reasons of logistics and other things. People were afraid that the exercise would end soon, but they were insisting that we should not go,” he emphasised.
Notwithstanding, Agim said the exercise, which was initially slated for six weeks from February 15 through the end of March before being announced extended by two months, was a success one.
“The operation was largely successful as a total of 183 criminals were arrested in ‘Exercise Ayem Akpatuma’ in Benue and Taraba States for various offences,” the spokesman said.
“In Benue State, 147 herdsmen, six cultists, five rustlers and six armed bandits were arrested while 15 were arrested in Taraba State,” he said.