The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command (AFRICOM) from its current base in Stuttgart, Germany to Nigeria or any other African nation despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.
The US Department of Defense, gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.
Buhari said; “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.”
He added; “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 relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
However, responding to an email inquiry from The PUNCH, the US government through The Pentagon, on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.
It said previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.
In the emailed response to The Punch on whether the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent, The Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms Cindi King said.
King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defense review.
She said; “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment.
In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.
“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements.
The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”