Pentagon Responds to Buhari’s Plea to Relocate US African Command to Nigeria

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Pentagon Responds to Buhari’s Plea to Relocate US African Command to Nigeria
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Following the request by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for the United States to relocate its Africa Command from its present base in Germany to Nigeria, the US has said that it does not harbour such a plan.

The response just two weeks after President Buhari asked the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa as a measure to help Nigeria and other African nations struggling to combat increased terrorism, banditry, and other security challenges.

President Buhari had made the appeal in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s plea comes after a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is huge.

The Pentagon in an emailed response to PUNCH, said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as essential partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

It said, “It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

Buhari had requested the relocation based on the security challenges in the country and the existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, and the Lake Chad Region.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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