By Raphael Oni
President Muhammadu Buhari has requested that the United States should consider moving its military headquarters overseeing Africa to the continent, from Germany, to better tackle growing armed violence in the region. The President made this request during a virtual meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, saying Africa Command (AFRICOM), should be relocated to Africa itself.
President Buhari during the meeting with Anthony Bilken, charged the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling growing security challenges to avoid spillovers. In his words, “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.”
The President said, “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 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”.
Flowing from this, the President stressed that the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which partners with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check the security situation, with likely effect on other nations.
Buhari said, “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,’’.
Earlier, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Your Excellency, Mr. President, our relations have been strong for 60 years, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with you and your team on building on that foundation and charting a shared vision to guide our strategic partnership for the coming years. I look forward to discussing our cooperation in responding to a challenge to all of humanity, COVID-19, as well as our sustained efforts to strengthen global health security, so we’re better prepared for the next disease outbreak.”
Blinken further assured Mr. President of the strong commitment of the US and Nigeria to continue to promote healthy bilateral relations. In his words, “I also hope to discuss how we can build our economies back even better and stronger after the pandemic, growing them and making them more equitable. Investing and protecting the most vulnerable communities in our countries I think contributes to our goal of building a lasting security for Americans and for Nigerians.”
President Muhammadu Buhari and The Secretary reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria, founded upon shared democratic ideals and a spirit of transparency and cooperation. Secretary Blinken emphasized the United States’ renewed commitment to multilateral institutions and noted the constructive leadership role Nigeria plays in global affairs. His Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama was also part of the meeting. Onyeama congratulated Blinken on his appointment. According to Onyeama, “