Claim of foreign military base in Nigeria false —FG

The federal government yesterday dismissed insinuations that Nigeria is holding discussions with some foreign countries on the siting of foreign military bases in the country.

This is even as some diplomats, yesterday cautioned the Federal Government against allowing such military bases in the country.

Recall that the alleged proposal for the US and France to establish military bases in the country had sparked controversies, especially from stakeholders in the north, including the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.

A statement by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, urged Nigerians to disregard the “falsehood”.

He said the Federal Government had neither received nor considered any proposal for the establishment of foreign military bases in the country.

“The Nigerian government already enjoys foreign cooperation in tackling ongoing security challenges.

“The president remains committed to deepening these partnerships, with the goal of achieving the national security objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda,” the minister said.

Only on Sunday, some northern leaders cautioned President Bola Tinubu against allowing the US and French governments to relocate their military bases from the Sahel to Nigeria.

In a letter addressed to Tinubu and the National Assembly on Friday, the northern leaders said accepting such a proposal would pose dangers to the country.

The northern leaders said 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.

The New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, also gave a similar warning, asking the federal government not to compromise the country’s sovereignty.

Also recall that the relationship between Niger Republic and France became strained after the military coup in the Sahel country. France condemned the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic and demanded that constitutional order be returned.

After seizing power, the junta made France’s military exit one of its key demands, a move, which neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali, both also former French colonies, made after successful coups.

France, had more than 1,500 troops stationed in Niger to help fight jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State and to prevent further spread of terrorism across the Sahel.

After expelling French forces helping in the fight against terrorism, Niger’s military government agreed in January to step up military cooperation with Russia.

In March, the Nigerien junta revoked an accord with the US government, which allowed American troops to operate on two of its bases.

The US also reportedly agreed to close down its $100 million military drone base near Agadez, which was built six years ago and played a key role in the US-France strategy to combat jihadists in West Africa.

The Russian alliance was solidified when military instructors from the country arrived in Niger with the latest equipment and instructors to train the West African nation’s army a few weeks ago.

The development has fueled fears in some quarters that the US and France may want to site new military bases in Nigeria after their military personnel were dislodged in Niger Republic.

This, the federal government has dismissed as falsehood.

Diplomats caution FG against alleged proposed move

Meanwhile, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ex-Ambassador to the US, Amb Jeo Keshi, said in his reaction to the alleged proposal: ”It is good that the issue is in the public, I think under President Obasanjo, Nigeria rejected the US African Command, AFRICOM. “

‘Come to think of it, all the African countries they (western powers) have taken over, what is the security situation in those places. Look at Mali, Burkina Faso etc. the security situation in those countries has gone worst.

Reacting in a similar manner, Retired Ambassador Suleiman Dahiru said: ”I dont think it is something the Federal government should contemplate. Nigerians will never agree for such to happen.

”I have followed America establishing military base in other African countries, it has never made any difference, things rather get worst.“”The African countries that allowed them to establish a military base have something to hide. I am not in support of foreign establishment of military base in Nigeria.”