President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the United States of America to relocate its African Command Headquarters closer to Africa in order to help tackle insecurity in the region.
Buhari made the call during a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, his on Media and Publicity.
The US established AFRICOM in 2007, with the headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
According to President Buhari, the relocation is necessary as part of efforts to address insecurity in Nigeria and other African nations.
The president also urged the US government to assist African countries in maintaining security, warning that the consequences of insecurity on the continent may spillover to other countries outside the continent.
The statement read: “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.”
President 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.
The statement read: “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.
“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 Blinken, the US 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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