The United States of America has said it is not presently considering the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to relocate its Africa Command Headquarters to Africa.
The Pentagon (US Ministry of Defence) said this in an interview on Thursday.
President Buhari had during a virtual meeting with Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, on 27 April appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
But in response to an enquiry by a national newspaper to the president’s request, the Pentagon said it has no plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa even though it is conducting an ongoing review of its defence policy.
According to the US Pentagon spokesperson, Cindi King, the US continues to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, but that it would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment due to the huge cost associated with such exercise.
“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,” King told the Punch.
“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.”