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Northern Elites Behind Foreign Military Base Claim – Coalition Group

Daud Olatunji

A  coalition comprising 259 anti-corruption, civil society, and human rights groups, known as the Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER), has accused members of the Northern elite group of attempting to instigate a crisis in Nigeria.

 This accusation comes in response to claims made by the Northern elites regarding a purported plan by the Bola Tinubu-led administration to allow the relocation of United States of America and French military bases from Francophone West African countries to Nigeria.

COTER, through its President, Dr. Peter China Chukwu, and General Secretary, Mallam Auta Ibrahim Koko, released a statement condemning the actions of the Northern elites. 

They allege that the Northern elites’ outcry over the supposed plan by the government is a deliberate attempt to create disaffection between the government and the Nigerian populace.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has categorically denied the existence of any discussions between the Federal Government and foreign countries regarding the establishment of military bases in Nigeria. 

Similarly, the French Government has refuted claims of any such plans, emphasizing that no discussions have taken place or are planned regarding the relocation of military bases.

The genesis of this controversy traces back to a letter dated May 3, 2024, addressed to President Tinubu by a group of Northern elites, expressing concerns over the alleged lobbying by the US and France to establish military bases in Nigeria. 

The letter, which was also copied to the National Assembly, raised apprehensions about the potential implications for Nigeria’s defense and security.

However, COTER argues that such claims lack credibility and could incite panic among the populace, particularly in already volatile regions. 

They question the motives behind the Northern elites’ alarmist stance, highlighting Nigeria’s longstanding foreign and defense policies, which preclude the establishment of military bases by foreign powers.

 COTER urges restraint and caution on the part of these Northern elites, warning against the exploitation of religious sensitivities to stoke tensions and provoke a crisis. 

They emphasize the need for unity and collective efforts to elevate Nigeria’s standing on the global stage, rather than engaging in actions that could undermine national cohesion.

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