US and French governments lobby Nigeria to host their military bases – report

There have been recent concerns about the likely relocation of US and French military bases from the Sahel to Nigeria.

In an open letter to President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly, northern leaders warned the federal government not to succumb to military pressure from the US and French governments.

The US and French governments are said to have lobbied Nigeria and other regional countries to sign new defense deals that would allow them to redeploy expelled troops.

According to the letter, northern leaders expressed concerns about the economic and environmental impacts of hosting foreign military bases.

“Economically, the presence of these bases could potentially divert government dollars and resources from critical areas such as education, healthcare and infrastructure development to maintaining and securing these military installations. This redirection of resources could hinder economic growth and worsen poverty in a country where much of the population already lives under challenging conditions,” they said.

The letter also noted that hosting foreign troops often leads to higher prices and costs of living in local areas, disproportionately affecting lower-income populations.

“Environmentally, the construction and operation of military bases can lead to significant degradation of the local environment. This includes deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution and biodiversity loss, which harm farming communities and indigenous peoples….”

Furthermore, the letter emphasized that the establishment of foreign military bases in Nigeria would exacerbate existing tensions between Nigeria and neighboring French countries.

Citing Pentagon data, the letter states that Western military operations aimed at countering terrorism in the Sahel region are considered largely ineffective, if not outright failures.

The leaders urged the government to carefully weigh the broader implications of such agreements and prioritize Nigeria’s long-term peace and security over short-term strategic considerations.