Northern Leaders Criticize Proposal to Relocate US, French Military Bases to Nigeria

EU Announces Termination of Military Training Mission in Mali

Northern Leaders Criticize Proposal to Relocate US, French Military Bases to Nigeria

The open letter penned by some Northern leaders to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Assembly (NASS) raises serious concerns regarding the potential relocation of American and French military bases from the Sahel to Nigeria. Signed by prominent figures like Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Kabiru Sulaiman Chafe, and others, the letter underscores the implications of such a move on Nigeria’s sovereignty and national security.

The leaders point out that both the American and French governments have been lobbying Nigeria and other countries to sign new defense pacts, enabling them to redeploy soldiers expelled from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. While recognizing Nigeria’s strategic location in the Gulf of Guinea, they caution against signing these agreements, citing concerns about sovereignty and national security.

Recent events in Niger, where France’s 1,500 troops were expelled, and the suspension of the military agreement with the United States, serve as a backdrop to their argument. They argue that the presence of foreign troops in Niger has been ineffective and could potentially destabilize the region. Therefore, they urge Nigeria to reject proposals to host these bases, citing historical precedents and public opposition to foreign military alliances.

The letter highlights the economic and environmental impacts of hosting foreign military bases, including diverting funds from critical sectors like education and healthcare. Moreover, constructing and operating such bases could lead to ecological degradation, adversely affecting local communities and indigenous populations.

Drawing on historical examples, such as the abrogation of the Anglo-Nigerian Defense Agreement in the 1960s, the leaders stress the importance of safeguarding Nigeria’s sovereignty and independence. They call on Nigerian leaders to prioritize the nation’s long-term peace and security over short-term strategic considerations, advocating for cautious diplomacy and strategic autonomy.

In conclusion, the letter urges President Tinubu and the National Assembly to consider the broader implications of hosting foreign military bases and prioritize Nigeria’s sovereignty and national interests. Rejecting proposals to house these bases would reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to self-determination and contribute to its citizens’ stable and prosperous future.

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