President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the United States to consider relocating the headquarters of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany.
The president stated this on Tuesday during a virtual meeting with Anthony Blinken, US secretary of state.
AFRICOM, with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, is one of the 11 departments of defence combatant commands of the US which focuses on improving security in African countries.
The US established AFRICOM in 2007, but it became fully operational in 2008, with operations carried out in Niger Republic, Djibouti, Chad, among others.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari said the relocation is necessary as part of efforts to address insecurity in Nigeria and other African nations.
“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.
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.”
The president also commended the US for lifting the immigrant visa ban on Nigeria, and also re-joining the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“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,” Buhari said.
“I also wish to congratulate the United States for re-joining the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The leadership of the United States in these two organsations 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.”
On his part, Blinken said he was happy to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” adding that the US looks forward to building sustainable relationships that will engender development.