• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Experts call for caution, say, US, France Military bases may be harmful to Nigeria

Lawrence Alobi a
After several years of promoting the policy of nonalignment, security analysts believe that Nigeria must critically weigh its decision on whether or not to host military bases for France and the United States.
Lawrence Alobi, a security expert, said the country will benefit more by remaining with the policy of non-alignment.
According to him, “Nigeria’s foreign policy has always followed the tradition of nonalignment that dates from the early 1960s and which helped the country greatly during the period of the Cold War”.
“I don’t foresee anything that will warrant a change in that policy, either in the immediate or even shortly, because, even currently, we have a robust relationship with China and Russia”.
Alobi, a former FCT Police Commissioner, emphasized the need for prudent diplomacy and strategy, in Nigeria’s engagements with the US and France.
“Yes, some countries normally have security pacts with other nations, with the understanding that when they are at risk, those nations will come to their aid, but Nigeria has over the years promoted the policy of nonalignment and I think it will pay us better to maintain such a policy”.
“If we sign such a security pact with these nations, they can continue to monitor your security apparatuses. Building a base in Nigeria will expose Nigeria to top security risks. We have always been non-allied, we will have more benefits and respect if we keep things as they are”.
On the other hand, if we sign such a pact, we will make ourselves more vulnerable. We can relate with them on an exchange basis, in the areas of security, economy, and education, but we must not mortgage our destiny in the hands of these people
Alobi who noted that Nigeria does not have any serious threats or enemies, said Nigeria has enjoyed support from China and Russia, especially in the areas of finance and agriculture.
Senator Iroegbu, however, warned that Nigeria must do a critical assessment of the political development in Niger, her northern neighbours, so as not to be taken unawares.
“I don’t know how factual this information is, but based on our trajectory as a nation, Nigeria has always resisted such military base, not only within her territory but in Africa, in general”.
“We have always seen ourselves as a big brother to other African nations. Nigeria resisted the Anglo pact, we also resisted the use of Nigeria as base for the African high command, amongst several others”.
“Our concerns, however, should be what is happening in Niger. They are kicking the Americans out and inviting Russia to take over”.
“For you to kick out the US and bring in Russia, there must be a concern about development in Niger”.
“The question is are we comfortable with the ongoing dynamics in Niger, what is going on in Niger should not be ignored. The question is how do we manage the situation with our northern neighbours”.
“It boils down to issues of protecting our country, against unwarranted attacks from unfriendly neighbours”.
“In as much as we may not want to subject our nation to become a playground for these superpowers, Nigeria should not just be sleeping. We should always measure the implications, the impact of what is going on in Niger, because that country did not just send out the US from its territory, it has taken sides with Russia, by inviting them to take over.”
Recall that leaders from the north, including Abubakar Mohammed, Kabiru Chafe, Attahiru Jega, Jibrin Ibrahim, Auwal Rafsanjani and YZ Ya’u, had recently, in an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, drew the President’s attention to the “ risks” of entering an agreement to provide military bases for the United States and France in Nigeria
This followed reports of intense lobbying by France and the United States, for Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea to sign new defence pacts.
The lobbying follows the expulsion of French and American troops from Niger and the suspension of a military agreement between Niger and the United States, including hostilities towards America in Mali and Burkina Faso, as reasons why the countries are looking for allies in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to them, “These pacts would allow for the redeployment of troops expelled from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, with Nigeria having a strategic location”
They warned that “such agreements could endanger Nigeria’s sovereignty and internal security.”
“These events underscored the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region and the potential consequences of hosting foreign military bases.
The letter also highlighted historical precedents such as Nigeria’s rejection of foreign military alliances dating back to the 1960s. It stressed the importance of prioritizing Nigeria’s long-term peace and security over short-term strategic interests, and urged leaders to consider the broader implications of hosting foreign bases”.
The leaders, therefore, charged the President and the National Assembly to uphold Nigeria’s sovereignty and independence by rejecting the relocation of foreign military bases.
Also, the Peoples Redemption Party PRP raised objections to Nigeria providing bases for France and the United States.
Expressing the dangers inherent in the attempts by the USA and some European countries to relocate their military bases in the Sahel, where they have been kicked out by host nations, to Nigeria, the party urged the President and the National Assembly to uphold the nation’s sovereignty by rejecting the idea.
“As a Party resolutely committed to the sovereignty, security and well-being of our nation, we feel it is our responsibility to voice our concerns and caution the Nigerian government against entering into any pacts that may endorse such arrangements”.
“The relocation of these foreign military bases to our beloved nation carries with it a myriad of potential dangers that could adversely affect the security, sovereignty, and overall well-being of our dear country”.
“We, as a party founded on the principles of “Total Liberation from Imperialism,” feel compelled to highlight these risks and strongly call on the Nigerian government to outrightly reject such proposals”.