- Insecurity: “Nigerian Military Uncooperative”, Says Ex-US Envoy, Campbell
The United States (U.S.) has decline a request by President Muhammadu Buhari to it to relocate the headquarters of its Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa to help Nigeria and other African countries tackle worsening insecurity.
According to reports, the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, declined the request citing the high cost of the relocation and other logistical impediments.
President Buhari made the request about a fortnight ago during a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.
“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 explained further: “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.”
But a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has given another plausible reason why the U.S. declined Nigeria’s request.
According to Campbell, it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM because “the Nigerian military authorities have been largely uncooperative with the US military. Hence, the US military involvement in Nigeria, beyond limited training operations, is minimal, and the country does not host any American defence installations.”
He added: “The Nigerian government took the lead in persuading or strong-arming other African states against accepting the AFRICOM headquarters, which was thereupon established at Stuttgart, Germany, already the headquarters of the European Command.”