The new U.S administration’s foreign policy position took an interesting dimension when the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, requested a virtual meeting with Nigeria’s president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
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At the virtual meetup held on Tuesday, April 27th 2021, one of the major bylines of the discussions was the request by the Buhari administration that the U.S government move the AFRICOM Command base from Stuttgart, Germany, to Nigeria.
One reason given by the presidency is that such a decision by the U.S will help fight the incursion of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Northern part of the country and in West Africa at large.
Media Assistant to the president, Femi Adesina, quoted the president to have pleaded with the international community to support Nigeria and West Africa in tackling growing security challenges which have bedevilled the region for more than a decade:
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States 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.”
The position of the United States on the request by Buhari is yet to be stated publicly. However, there are no indications that the U.S government would want to give in to this demand as the base already serves strategic demand within the continental space.
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The last time the U.S was directly involved in counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria was around the time Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was winding down. Military trainers and instructors from the U.S and Britain were working hand-in-hand with special units of the Nigerian military to create new battalions that could win the war against insurgency.
Around 2015, the strategy of involving the military of developed countries in joint counter-terrorism operations was largely successful as the units have retaken most of the towns occupied by Boko Haram circa 2015.
Meanwhile, these military units and contractors had already been given a bad name by then opposition parties with propaganda from the All Progressives Congress (APC). The embarrassment was so much that all external forces involved in the fight against terrorism were either frustrated out or their contract was not renewed.
It is, therefore, strange that the Nigerian government is calling for help in a war it assured citizens it has won.
Feelers are now out to determine if the call for AFRICOM command to be based in Nigeria is an acceptance of defeat against terror, or the Buhari administration has finally realised that the Nigerian military needs to be reorganised and learn from the military units of developed countries.
Interestingly, from all indications, the government has shown more of an unwillingness to act rather than the military being incapable. Most believe that the government of the day is complicit in the spate of insecurity in Nigeria and bringing in security contractors presents an insincere and incompetent front. it is simply putting a square peg in a round hole.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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