Faced by disturbing reports that are pouring in from the field, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday asked for international help, urging the United States to come to the rescue of the country.
The President who engaged the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken during a virtual meeting asked the global Super Power to move AFRICOM, one of its strategic formations concerned about Africa away from its base in Germany.
Nigeria is asking the Americans to find a new home in the black continent for AFRICOM.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenge 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”, Buhari advocated.
Buhari stressed that such an arrangement would bring the US closer to the “Theatre of Operation” and create room for its strategic involvement in the resolution of conflicts.
He said Nigeria similarly believed that it could work with the United States in confronting security threats that are facing it.
“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 cause.”
Blinken who was obviously pleased to meet with Nigerian officials expressed optimism.
Both countries have enjoyed years of cooperation and the American envoy said Washington was looking forward to greater understanding and collaboration with Abuja.
Nigeria’s appeal for help is coming as more and more Nigerians, including opinion leaders and politicians pile increasing pressure on Muhammadu Buhari.
They have been prodding him to seek assistance from friendly countries in order to save the nation from falling apart.
Nigeria’s military which is in action on many fronts appears to be completely overstretched.
It has been fighting in the North East against Boko Haram and other deadly Islamic groups.
But of late it has been forced to turn attention to the North West where hostage snatching and mass killings are taking place.
In the North Central, Fulanis are becoming an increasing threat to the existence of law and order.
Reacting to the murder of seven persons in an IDP camp in Benue on Tuesday, Governor Ortom pointedly told the president to call his “kinsmen” to order.
Down South, particularly in the South East, the Army is faced with a menace posed by rebels and agitators who are unleashing violence, attacking government targets and killing security operatives.
Not many agree that the Nigerian military has the right equipment and the right motivation.
Governor Zulum who was at the Presidential Villa to brief the President said troops on the front lines are ill – equipped.
The Governor who looked worried inferred there could even be acts of sabotage within the Armed forces as he narrated how bandits took over equipment supplied to troops in his zone.
Britain, a colonial power and friend of Nigeria had agreed recently to grant political asylum to groups which claim to be fighting for the liberation of Biafra.
This hasn’t gone down well with the Nigerian authorities who feel that Britain has treated the country with disrespect.
But there is hope that the romance with America may prove to be a game changer in the long run.
Nigeria successfully finalized a deal for the acquisition of US military aircrafts under the Trump administration. There is no evidence that those crafts have been delivered by the Americans.
Similarly, there are disturbing reports that the US may have been in the habit of blocking weapon sales to the country.
Trump may have operated without a clear African policy, perhaps as a result of his racist inclination.
Somehow, Biden seems different. He appears to be interested in a continent that is expected to turn into a huge market by the year 2050 according to economic experts.
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