A viral WhatsApp message claimed President Muhammadu Buhari asked the United States to relocate the country’s African Command (AFRICOM) to Nigeria to help fight insecurity.
Verdict: False. The claim that President Buhari requested the United States to relocate its African Command to Nigeria is false.
The president urged the United States to consider relocating the command from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa.
A recent message circulated on WhatsApp claimed that President Buhari made a case for the relocation of the United States African Command to Nigeria.
The message reads: “President Buhari asked the US to relocate African Command to Nigeria to help fight insecurity.”
The message claimed the president’s request reflected a failure of governance, mental poverty and self-induced confusion.
“Every election has consequences. We are now facing and experiencing in full dose the consequences of the election results of 2015 and 2019,” the message stated.
The WhatsApp claim
Brief on AFRICOM
Information obtained from the U.S Africa Command’s official website indicated that the command, with partners, “counters transnational threats and malign actors, strengthens security forces and responds to crises in order to advance U.S national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.”
The command is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and is one of 11 U.S Department of Defence combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war.
The command said it was responsible for all the U.S Department of Defence operations, exercises and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations and surrounding waters.
“The area of responsibility consists of 53 African states, more than 800 ethnic groups, over 1,000 languages, vast natural resources, a landmass of 11.2 million square miles (three-and-a-half times the size of the U.S.), and nearly 19,000 miles of coastland.
The AFRICOM began initial operations October 1, 2007, and became fully operational October 1, 2008,” AFRICOM stated.
But how true is the claim that Buhari requested the relocation of the command to Nigeria?
On April 27, 2021, President Buhari tweeted on his verified account, @MBuhari, that he had a call with the United States Secretary of State Antony John Blinken.
Buhari tweeted, “In my call with US Secretary of State Blinken, I asked the US to consider re-locating the AFRICOM HQ from Germany to Africa—near the Theatre of Operation; against the backdrop of growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel.”
President Buhari also tweeted that he had reiterated that Nigeria and her security forces remained committed to containing security challenges in the nation and region, and addressing their root causes.
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States of course cannot be overstated,” he added.
Similarly, on the same day, the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, released a statement in which he said the president urged the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation.
The statement indicated that President Buhari pointed out that security challenges in Nigeria remained of great concern and impacted more negatively by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad region.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider re-locating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation,’’ President Buhari said as stated in the statement.
The claim that President Buhari requested the United States to relocate its African Command to Nigeria is false. The president urged the United States to consider relocating the command from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa.