SECURITY: PRESIDENT BUHARI REQUESTS THAT THE HEADQUARTERS OF AFRICOM BE RELOCATED IN AFRICA, WARNING OF LIKELY SPILLOVERS
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday urged the United States to reconsider relocating the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, closer to the Theater of Operations, and urged the international community to assist Nigeria and the sub-region in addressing growing security challenges in order to avoid spillovers.
President Buhari said in a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony Blinken, that AFRICOM, which works with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to control the security situation, which will likely have an impact on other countries.
“The security challenges in Nigeria continue to be of great concern to us, and they are exacerbated by the complex negative pressures that exist in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.
“As the situation worsens, Nigeria and her security forces remain steadfast in their commitment to containing them and addressing their root causes. The importance of important and strategic partners such as the United States cannot be overstated, as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, necessitating concerted cooperation and collaboration among all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this regard, and in light of the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, the Lake Chad region, and the Sahel, which are weighing heavily on Africa, it highlights the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM Headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theater of Operations,” he said.
The President stated that Nigeria will strengthen all forms of collaboration with friends and strategic partners in order to work together for greater security for all, which remains the most important condition for overcoming the existential challenges.
President Buhari congratulated Blinken on his appointment by President Joe Biden, and praised the United States for repealing the immigration restriction known as the “Muslim ban,” as well as re-joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Nigeria attaches great importance to its relations with the United States. Let me in this connection express appreciation to President Joe Biden for his welcome and reaching decision to repeal the Immigration restriction known as the ‘Muslim ban’ on travel and visas for citizens predominantly from Muslim Nations and African Countries, including Nigeria.
“I also wish to congratulate the United States for re-joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The leadership of the United States in these two organizations is crucial for international community.
“This action is a demonstration of the United States commitment in championing and supporting international organizations with the aim to build a better world for all,’’ he added.
President Buhari noted that Nigeria remains resolute in her commitment to supporting global efforts as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the President, the convening of the Climate Change Summit last week by President Biden was a strong indication of the renewed interest of the United States to the Paris Agreement.
“I would like to extend our goodwill message to President Joe Biden and his Administration. May I also thank you for initiating this meeting, which I am confident, given your background and current position, you will use to promote the existing bilateral relations between our two countries,’’ the President said.
The Secretary of State said he was pleased to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” noting that Nigeria and the United States of America, share a lot in bilateral issues.
He added that he would be delighted to build on the foundation that was laid between the two countries over 60 years ago, disclosing that areas of discussion with Nigeria would include “how to build our economies back after the COVID-19 pandemic, security for vulnerable communities, and climate issues.”
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 27, 2021