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Buhari seeks US assistance in fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP, banditry, warns of spill over to other countries

  • Wants AFRICOM relocated to Africa, from Stuttgart, Germany

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday formally asked for the assistance of the United States (U.S.) and other “important and strategic partners” in combating the security challenges of Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorism, banditry and other crimes facing Nigeria.

According to a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari made the call during a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Mr Anthony Blinken, saying that the support was necessary because the consequences of insecurity in Nigeria would affect all nations.

Ihe statement titled ‘Security: President Buhari asks US to relocate headquarters of AFRICOM to Africa, warns of likely spillovers,” the President stated that apart from seeking assistance in tackling insecurity, the US should consider relocating US Africa Command from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation.

He also admonished the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling growing security challenges to avoid spillovers.

Buhari said 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.

He said, “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 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.

“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 collaborations in all forms, with friends and strategic partners, to work together for greater security for all, which remain the most significant condition for overcoming the existential challenges.

He congratulated Blinken on his appointment by President Joe Biden, and commended US for the decision to repeal the immigration restriction known as the “Muslim ban’’, re-joining the World Health Organisation and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

He added, “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.

“I also wish to congratulate the United States for re-joining the World Health Organization and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The leadership of the United States in these two organisations is crucial for international community.

“This action is a demonstration of the United States commitment in championing and supporting international organisations with the aim to build a better world for all.”

Buhari noted that Nigeria remains resolute in her 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.

According to the President, the convening of the Climate Change Summit last week by President Biden was a strong indication of the renewed interest of the United States to the Paris Agreement.

“I would like to extend our goodwill message to President Joe Biden and his Administration. May I also thank you for initiating this meeting, which I am confident, given your background and current position, you will use to promote the existing bilateral relations between our two countries,’’ the President said.

The statement also quoted the Secretary of State as saying that 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 added that 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.”

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