Northern leaders warn Tinubu against hosting US, French military bases in Nigeria

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Prominent leaders from the north of Nigeria issued a warning on Friday against the potential relocation of military bases by the United States and France from the Sahel to Nigeria.

In a public letter addressed to President Bola Tinubu and the heads of the National Assembly, the leaders urged the federal government not to yield to such demands.

The signatories of the letter include esteemed figures such as Professor Abubakar Siddique Mohammed of the Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CEDDERT), Zaria; Professor Kabiru Sulaiman Chafe, a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, representing the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), Kaduna; and several others.

The letter reveals that the American and French governments have been actively persuading Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea nations to agree to new defence agreements. These would permit the redeployment of their troops, recently expelled from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

The authors of the letter voiced their apprehension that Nigeria, due to its strategic location among the Gulf of Guinea countries, might give in to this pressure, thereby risking its defence and internal security.

The recent removal of French and American troops from Niger, due to their perceived ineffectiveness, raises doubts about the benefits of hosting foreign military bases, the letter states.

The signatories argue that the main objective of these bases, which is to fight terrorism in the Sahel, has not been met, as terrorism has only intensified since the establishment of these camps.

They also warned against compromising Nigeria’s sovereignty and independence for fleeting strategic alliances that could have severe long-term repercussions.

The letter further highlights that the presence of foreign troops often results in increased living costs in local areas, disproportionately impacting the lower-income population.

The environmental impact of constructing and operating military bases, including deforestation, soil erosion, water contamination, and loss of biodiversity, can be significantly detrimental to agricultural communities and indigenous populations, the letter adds.

The presidency and the National Assembly have not yet publicly responded to the open letter.

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