Buratai Backs Tinubu’s Opposition to Foreign Military Bases on Nigerian Soil

Former Chief of Army Staff Lt General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has praised President Bola Tinubu’s decision not to allow foreign military bases on Nigerian soil.

Buratai’s position comes amid recent allegations by some Northern leaders that the US and French governments had been lobbying Nigeria to sign new defence pacts, paving the way for the redeployment of their expelled military forces from the Sahel.

“Nigeria should not allow any foreign force on its soil. I commend the federal government for its stand against the reported planned redeployment of the US Forces that are being withdrawn from the Niger Republic to Nigeria,” Buratai stated.

The former COAS, who served as Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, noted in a statement through his Media Aide, Ibrahim Dahiru Danfulani, that “The Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation made it very clear that Nigeria had no plan to harbour US troops on our soil.”

In a recent letter to President Tinubu, a group of northern leaders warned that the presence of foreign military bases would worsen already strained relations between Nigeria and Niger Republic, as well as neighbouring Francophone countries. They urged the president to prioritize the nation’s security over “short-term strategic alignments.”

In an interview with a national television last Tuesday, David Greene, US chargé d’affaires in Nigeria, refuted the reports. “I am not aware of any such conversation, and I am not really sure whose purpose it serves to agitate on this point,” Greene said.

Buratai recalled that in 2014 and 2015, the Nigerian government asserted its sovereign autonomy and declined the deployment of a UN or AU international peacekeeping force to fight Boko Haram.

“The Nigerian government rejected the deployment of a UN or AU international peacekeeping force to fight Boko Haram in 2014 and 2015,” he stated.

“The birth of the new MNJTF with its HQ in Ndjamena was the solution to a foreign force deployment that could have placed these foreign forces as an inter-position force between the Boko Haram territory and the Nigerian territory.

“The implication of this is that it could have given territorial legitimacy to the insurgents.

“Similarly, as COAS, I had to quickly recover Gamboru-Ngala from the insurgents in order to prevent the deployment of the Chadian Forces on the Nigerian soil. The MNJTF Concept of Operation was to have three Sectors.

“Sector 1 deployed in Cameroon’s Far North Region, comprising all Cameroonian troops. Sector 2 was to be deployed in Ngamboru-Ngala on Nigerian territory, comprising all Chadian troops. Sector 3 was to remain in Baga in Northern Borno State, comprising all Nigerian troops.

“Having denied the Chadian forces deployment on Nigerian soil, Sector 2 was then deployed in Baga Sola in the Lake Region of Chad,” the statement said.

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