Why We Support Setting Up USA’s, France’s Military Bases In Nigeria: By HURIWA

Why We Support Setting Up USA’s, France’s Military Bases In Nigeria: By HURIWA

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has been alerted to the press statement that was signed by Kabiru S. Chafe on behalf of Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) Kaduna, an unremarkable organisation that is supposedly championing the interest of the north.

We are also aware that the Arewa Consultative Council similarly criticised us over same issue. So, our general explanation of the fundamentals of our support for USA and France to set up military bases in Nigeria will capture our reaction to the statement by the Arewa Consultative Council.

HURIWA was originally tempted to disregard the press release because of the doubts surrounding both the signatory and the organisation. On second thought, though, we felt obligated to take advantage of the right to reply to further clarify a few points because of the extremely important problem that the press release targeted and HURIWA’s stance on the matter.

First, a highly unsettling pattern in the contemporary democratic dispensation has been developed by such dark individuals and groups who profess to be defending the interests of the North while concealing their true identities. It is also unclear what their long-term goals are. Most of the time, we also have cause to question whose interests these shadowy characters—who pose as defenders of Northern interests—are representing.

The press release under reference from the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) criticising the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) for endorsing the construction of US and French military bases in Nigeria published in Platinum Post, asserted it would inflame “regional relations and domestic stability,” as if the northern region already enjoyed some sort of stability that the group hypocritically wouldn’t want to be disturbed.

They charged that HURIWA had endangered Nigeria’s sovereignty by supporting US and French military bases in Nigeria, and were ignorant of the complex dynamics of instability and insecurity in the Sahel and northern Nigeria. Again, the group showed no interest in explaining the complex dynamics of insecurity in the north, which they claimed mastery of.

According to the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), the military bases would negatively impact “regional relations and domestic stability”. Put another way, the organisation believes that the Northern region is experiencing stability, which will be worsened by the military bases, which is false and unfortunate.

The ARDP goes on to erroneously claim that given the underlying causes and geopolitical complexities of regional security concerns, the US and French military bases in Nigeria cannot be a cure for terrorism, which they said are deeply rooted in Nigeria’s socio-economic disparities and governance deficiencies.

The ARDP opposes the endorsement as well because they think that the deployment of foreign forces will make matters worse, possibly escalating local unrest and giving insurgent groups more support while weakening Nigerian sovereignty and self-determination.

According to the ARDP’s conclusion, Nigeria must resolve its security issues on its own, giving national interest, regional cooperation, and sustainable development precedence over the easy and dangerous route of accepting foreign military deployments.

HURIWA would like to stress again, with all due patriotism and responsibility: That it is preferable for US and French military bases to exist in Nigeria than for terrorists to take control of the country. To support one another militarily, nations engage in both bilateral and multilateral cooperation. So, nothing is degrading or untoward in accepting military bases in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Nigeria has a long history of participating in peacekeeping missions in numerous nations following the First and Second World Wars. Therefore, HURIWA finds it difficult to understand the group’s argument that the US and French military facilities in Nigeria undercut the concept of self-determination and show a lack of faith in Nigeria’s military. There is nothing more false than this.

Indeed, there may have been a few rare cases where foreign military bases caused host nations to lose full control over their internal affairs, with foreign powers influencing national security plans and political policies to serve their agendas. That ought to be the point at which the host nations abandoned their obligations for national security. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the political leaders in our country to set the boundaries and oversight such military cooperation to protect Nigeria’s strategic interests and national security.

Therefore, if this fear is real, it’s not unmanageable or unsurmountable. These collateral damages pale in comparison to the level of insecurity currently plaguing Nigeria, and can be mitigated if the right steps are taken by Nigeria as a host country.

Regardless of one’s perspective, Nigeria is currently home to three to four terrorist groups, and the country’s military needs support, which these military bases will be better able to provide.

These nebulous groups cannot pretend they are unaware that Boko Haram is ranked among the top 10 most vicious terrorist groups in the world by the Global Terrorism Index, along with killer Fulani herdsmen, bandits of the Janjaweed hue, ISWAP, and al Qaeda in the Maghreb. They all operate in Nigeria and push the country’s military to the breaking point with their terrorist actions that are also occurring in the eastern part of the country.

The trend unequivocally demonstrates that despite the valiant efforts of the Nigerian military, which has reached its breaking point and is obviously in need of support, terrorists, bandits, and killer herdsmen have taken over much of Nigeria’s forests from north to south. Because of how bad things are right now, there is a chance that these terrorists, bandits, and deadly Fulani herders may take over the country.

The country faces a clear decision: accept international military assistance, such as the establishment of US and French military facilities in Nigeria, or continue on its current course without support, which may eventually collapse the country.

Similar examples of overrun nations abound, as do instances of governments that have managed to repel terrorists and bandits with the help of international military collaboration and support. Nigeria cannot afford to let terrorists and bandits take over the nation, even though the scenario might seem like a devil’s alternative. The expanding and escalating ungoverned spaces that the terrorists and other violent non-state actors dominate should worry all patriotic Nigerians who wish the nation well.

HURIWA also rejects the ARDP’s assertion that Nigeria’s socioeconomic inequality and weak governance are the main causes of the country’s insecurity. These considerations don’t explain anything because there have been reports about how bandits were introduced into Nigeria and about the Fulani herdsmen’s outright refusal to be brought under government control.

Furthermore, given the current collaboration between Boko Haram and ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups, as well as the fact that the majority of bandits and Fulani killer herdsmen are not Nigerian citizens, it is difficult to see how the Nigerian government could be held accountable for the living circumstances of these non-Nigerians who have invaded the nation.

Given that the vast majority of these individuals are not Nigerians, the argument that the nation’s socioeconomic inequalities and conditions are what encourage terrorism and banditry cannot hold water.

Once more, in the face of all these,  the advantages of setting up US and French bases in Nigeria far outweigh any potential drawbacks, barring other covert goals that these amorphous groups and individuals may have with these dangerous elements, such as using them to advance a political agenda.

Let it be said again and again, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) maintains that having military bases of the United States and France in Nigeria makes considerably more sense than letting Boko Haram, Janjaweed bandits, and Fulani herdsmen take over the country.

May we add this: if the Federal Government is not contemplating foreign military bases in Nigeria, this is the time to embrace the idea whose time has come, as a strategy for dealing with the clear and present danger that insecurity has posed against the survival of the Nigerian nation.




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