Overwhelmed by the recent spike in national and regional insecurity, embattled President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the United State for assistance to tackle insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and secessionists violence.
78-year-old President Buhari on April 27, 2021 had a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State, Mr Anthony Bilken, amidst clamour at home for the President to seek foreign assistance as security operatives are weighed down by spreading violence.
He begged U.S to consider relocating US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation.
He charged the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling growing security challenges to avoid spill-overs.
“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”.
President Buhari stressed that the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which partners with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check the security situation, with likely effect on other nations.
“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,’’ he said.
Nigeria, he said, 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 praised the United States for the decision to repeal the immigration restriction known as the “Muslim ban’’, re-joining the World Health Organization (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.
“I also wish to congratulate the United States for re-joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The leadership of the United States in these two organizations is crucial for international community.
“This action is a demonstration of the United States commitment in championing and supporting international organizations with the aim to build a better world for all”.
Nigeria remains resolute in its commitment to supporting global efforts as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Buhari said.
According to the President, the convening of the Climate Change Summit last week by President Biden was a strong indication of the renewed interest of the United States to the Paris Agreement.
“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,’’ he said.
US Secretary of State said he was pleased to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” noting that Nigeria and the United States of America, share a lot in bilateral issues.
He expressed confidence on the foundation laid over 60 years ago between the two countries, and said that the U.S would engage Nigeria on “how to build our economies back after the COVID-19 pandemic, security for vulnerable communities, and climate issues”.
Shortly before the virtual meeting, prominent Nigerians, including governors and lawmakers expressed concern about the nationwide ceaseless killings and kidnappings, calling on President Buhari to seek international assistance.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 discussed activities of Boko Haram and the incursion of the deadly fighters in Niger State, about 200 kilometres to Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal capital.
The lawmakers described insecurity in the country as not only terrible, but also shameful.
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum; his Niger State counterpart, Sani Bello and Samuel Ortom of Benue State, also warned that insecurity in the country was getting out of control.
They called on the Federal Government to act fast as 65 people were killed in different parts of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Those killed included soldiers, police and civilians in Rivers, Benue, Niger, Imo, Borno and Kaduna states.
Nigeria state governor also reported: “About 42 communities across the two local government areas of Shiroro and Munya have so far fallen under the Boko Haram control with about 5,000 villagers already displaced in the last three days.
“They have kidnapped many and their wives seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members.
“Three military camps in Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga in the two local government areas have been sacked and some security personnel killed by the insurgents in the last one month of renewed attacks.”
Aside the death of more than 36,000 people in as result of activities of Boko Haram fighters principally in Nigeria’s northeast, many others have been killed in neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The West African region and sahel are having a bitter dose of insurgency and internal strife which they are finding difficult to curtail.