Nigeria’s Diplomatic Tightrope: Bolaji Akinyemi Warns Against Hosting Superpower Military Bases

Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, cautioned against the establishment of a military base by any superpower within the country’s borders. This comes amidst reports of potential plans for the United States to set up a military presence in Nigeria.

Prof. Akinyemi articulated his concerns during an interview with Arise News, emphasizing that such a move could exacerbate Nigeria’s security challenges rather than alleviate them. “The last thing Nigeria wants is to have a military base by a superpower in counterpoise to another superpower,” he stated, referring to the geopolitical tensions that could arise from hosting foreign military installations.

The former minister’s comments reflect the delicate balance Nigeria must maintain in its international relations, particularly with the growing influence of Russia in neighboring countries like Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The presence of a U.S. military base could potentially bring Nigeria into direct confrontation with other global powers, a scenario Prof. Akinyemi believes would “maximize our problems.”

He also pointed out the lack of perceived benefits from the presence of France and the United States in the Sahel region, citing the requests from countries like Chad and Niger for the withdrawal of foreign troops. “If the presence of France and the United States had been beneficial in the Sahel, those countries would not be asking them to leave,” he argued.

Prof. Akinyemi’s insights come at a critical time when Nigeria is grappling with internal security issues, including threats from jihadist groups and ISIS. He suggests that the solution to these problems does not lie in inviting superpowers into the fray but rather in seeking alternative strategies that do not risk escalating tensions or drawing Nigeria into the broader East-West conflict.

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The implications of his statement are significant for Nigeria’s foreign policy and its approach to national security. As discussions continue, the nation watches closely to see how the government will navigate this complex issue and safeguard its interests on the global stage.

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