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July 25, 2024

Northern leaders oppose US, France military base in Nigeria

Some Northern leaders have urged the Nigerian government led by President Bola Tinubu not to allow the United States, US, and French governments to relocate their military bases from the Sahel to Nigeria.

They cautioned that allowing the US and French government carry out such move posed danger to Nigeria.

This was contained in a letter addressed to Tinubu and the National Assembly.

Signatories to the letter included Abubakar Mohammed of the Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CEDDERT); Kabiru Chafe, former minister of state for petroleum resources, from the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP); Attahiru Jega, former chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Jibrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani) of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CCISLAC); and YZ Ya’u of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).

In the letter, they claimed that the US and French governments have allegedly been lobbying Nigeria and other countries in the region, to sign new defence pacts allowing them to redeploy their expelled troops.

“This is for the simple reason that terrorism, far from abating, has in fact risen dramatically since the US began its operations in the region,” the leaders said.

They also expressed concerns about the economic and environmental impacts of hosting foreign military bases.

“Economically, the presence of these bases could potentially divert government funds and resources away from critical areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure development toward maintaining and securing these military installations.

“This redirection of resources could stunt economic growth and exacerbate poverty in a country where much of the population already lives under challenging conditions.

“Moreover, hosting foreign troops often leads to increased prices and living costs in local areas, disproportionately affecting the lower-income population.

“Environmentally, the construction and operation of military bases can lead to significant degradation of the local environment.

“These include deforestation, soil erosion, water contamination, and loss of biodiversity, which are detrimental to agricultural communities and indigenous populations.

“The long-term environmental damage could further hinder economic opportunities and sustainable development,” they further alleged.

The letter added that the presence of foreign military bases in Nigeria would worsen already strained relations between Nigeria and neighbouring French countries.

“Of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria turns out to be the most strategically located. There are indications that the Nigerian Government may be favourably disposed to the proposed defense pact.

“However, there is a widespread apprehension that signing of the pact by Nigeria would have wide ranging implications for defense and internal security of the country.

“These French and American bases were used by the French and the Americans to carry out manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other operations in the Sahel,” they further stated.

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