Nigeria declines intentions to host US, French army bases

(MENAFN) Nigeria's government has vehemently denied any plans to accommodate military bases for the United States and France within its borders, as asserted by Information Minister Mohammed Idris in an official statement issued on Monday.

This rebuttal follows recent speculation suggesting that Abuja was engaged in discussions with Washington and Paris regarding the establishment of American and French military installations, particularly amidst reports of their expulsion from neighboring Niger.

France's withdrawal of troops from Niamey in December, alongside similar actions in Mali and Burkina Faso, prompted speculation about potential relocations to neighboring states. The respective military administrations in these countries had accused Paris of interference and ineffectiveness in addressing extremist violence across the Sahel region during its decade-long security mission.

The Pentagon's announcement of a phased withdrawal of US forces from Niger last month, following the termination of a 2013 security agreement by Niger's military leadership, further fueled speculation about alternative operational arrangements in the region.

In response to these rumors, a coalition of northern Nigerian leaders and civil society representatives penned a letter to President Bola Tinubu, urging caution against purported pressures from the US and France to permit troop deployments within Nigeria's borders.

The group emphasized the potential risks such defense pacts could pose to the nation's sovereignty, characterizing them as a significant threat.

Bolaji Akinyemi, a former Nigerian foreign affairs minister, echoed these sentiments in an interview with local media outlet Arise News, underscoring the potential exacerbation of security challenges within Africa's most populous nation should such arrangements materialize.



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