President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, urged the United States to reconsider relocating its Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation, and implored the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling growing security challenges to avoid spillovers to other countries.
He said AFRICOM, which partners with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check the spate of insecurity and prevent it from spreading to other nations.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as stating this in a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.
“The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region. Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes. The support of important and strategic partners like US cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider re-locating AFRICOM Headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
Buhari said Nigeria would enhance its collaborations in all forms with friends and strategic partners work together for greater security for all to overcome current existential challenges.
He congratulated Blinken on his appointment by President Joe Biden, and commended the US for the decision to repeal the immigration restriction known as the “Muslim ban’’, re-joining the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“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.
Buhari noted that Nigeria remains resolute in its 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.
The US Secretary of State said he was pleased to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” noting that Nigeria and the US share a lot in bilateral issues.
He said 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.”