President Muhammadu Buhari has put out a call for assistance of the international community to curb insecurity in West African nations, especially Nigeria.
Specifically, Buhari requested the United States (U.S) to relocate its Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters from Stuttgart in Germany to its theatre of operation, which is Africa.
The President made the plea during a virtual meeting with U.S Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.
Also on Tuesday, the United Kingdom (UK) had assured that it would remain a strong ally of Nigeria in its efforts to contain terrorism.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum also restated his call on the Federal Government to seek external support in the fight against insurgents and bandits .
The President, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, told Blinken that insecurity in Nigeria has largely been worsened by “complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad region.”
He said: “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 the U.S. cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all to overcome these challenges.
“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 U.S. to consider re-locating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.’’
The President added that Nigeria would enhance collaborations in all forms with its strategic partners for greater security for all.
The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said multiple approaches were needed to tackle Nigeria’s” massive complex” security challenges.
Duddridge pointed out that no amount of partnership, intelligence gathering and military might would end the security challenges in Nigeria, unless basic human needs, like education, were taken into consideration.
The British minister, who led a delegation on a visit to Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja, said: “The situation(in Nigeria) is massively complex and no partnership is going to resolve the multiplicity of problems whether it is Boko Haram or Daesh or a number of other issues.
”In the UK you have a strong partner across the full gamut of issues. So, it is not just about intelligence and hard security and military, it is about societies, it is about humanitarian support; it is about education and development partnership.
“It is not an end game, we don’t get to a point where we would say this is the end of our relationship with Nigeria, because we got what we want, we set a higher bar, we are long–term partners.”
Duddridge said both countries would deepen post-COVID-19 relations, tackle climate change and work towards achieving the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Also speaking on insecurity, Onyeama said there is “an intelligence fusion unit with our partners — the U.S., UK, France —’’ designed to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
Onyeama also noted that a multiplicity of issues like de-radicalisation, education, jobs, girl-child, and education must be addressed in order to overcome the challenges of terrorism.
He said: “It is not a conventional war, where the enemy is readily identifiable, it is asymmetrical warfare, and we are dealing with very difficult situations.’’
Governor Zulum after meeting with the President in Abuja yesterday insisted that the time had come for Nigeria to seek support in order to win the war against insurgency.
The governor also bemoaned Sunday’s terrorist attacks in Mainok which led to the death of some soldiers.
He said: “In Borno particularly, Brigade headquarters was attacked, many soldiers, men, and officers of the Nigerian Army were killed. Let me use this opportunity to extend my condolences to the families of the deceased. God, in His infinite wisdom, forgive them.
“I think it is my own responsibility to come and say the truth to Mr. President, let him know what is going on in the entire Northeast
“I think there is the need for us to get support in this war against insurgents. It’s very pathetic. A few days ago, Damasak was attacked, hundreds of people started fleeing, and now, Geidam is almost deserted.”
Also yesterday, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike urged the Federal government to seek assistance from other nations to win the fight against terrorism and banditry.
The Federal government, he said, should seek assistance from nations with the capacity to help in tackling the security challenges.
He said: “There is nothing wrong in seeking assistance from China or the United States (U.S). So far, they have the technology and manpower capacity – Nigeria should seek assistance for security.”
“As a leader, people must see the willingness in you to fight the insurgent by action and not by mouth. The federal government must give all it takes to contain the insecurity situation. Let them summon everybody irrespective of party affiliations to jointly address the issue.”
Insisting that government must show sincerity in saving the lives and properties of Nigerians, the governor said: “Everyday people and security personnel are being killed. They (Federal Government) always say they are on top of the situation and at the end of the day, nothing is being done.”