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No plans to invade N’Delta, US tells Reps

Posted by By JAMES OJO, Abuja on 2008/02/02 | Views: 355 |

No plans to invade N’Delta, US tells Reps


Fear of possible invasion of the Niger Delta to stem the activities of militants in the creeks was allayed yesterday by the United States government, when it declared that it has no plans to invade the troubled region of the country through the establishment of the United States African Command (AFRICOM).

Fear of possible invasion of the Niger Delta to stem the activities of militants in the creeks was allayed yesterday by the United States government, when it declared that it has no plans to invade the troubled region of the country through the establishment of the United States African Command (AFRICOM).

However, US Mission to Nigeria represented by Geoffrey Martineau could not convince the House Committee on Defence led by Chief Wole Oke, why US was not forth coming on training of Nigerian soldiers in tactical training.

Geoffrey Martineau told the House that US was not planning to locate the headquarters of AFRICOM in Africa stating that for the meantime, AFRICOM will operate out of Kelly Barracks in Stuttgart, but would have bases in several African countries.

Contrary to insinuations that AFRICOM was part of the U.S. plan to re-colonize Africa, he made it clear that there was nothing nefarious about the establishment of AFRICOM.
“The point I wish to make is that AFRICOM’s goal is simply to enhance and improve our partnership with Africa, we want to do what we already do more efficiently, and free up more money on the ground to help Africans.

‘’It is simply what we decided to reorganize our military in a way that will simply make more sense in cooperating with African nations, and in the end, it will strengthen African sovereignty by strengthening African governments,” he stated.

But when asked why his country was not committed to training Nigerian soldiers in tactical training for modern warfare by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Hon Usman Bature, Martineau said he could not give an answer.

However, he described AFRICOM as a packaged programme for Africa by US military command, designed to work with African partners to enhance their own sovereignty and security.
‘’The great work we do together with our friends on the continent will not be diminished in any way. In fact, we hope and believe it that under AFRICOM, it will be more effective than ever. “

It is my hope that at the end of our time together, you will agree with me that through AFRICOM Nigeria and the continent as a whole will continue to enjoy a mutually beneficial partnership with the United States Government’’, he further explained.

AFRICOM, he pointed out, ‘’begins with understanding our African partners’ definitions of their own environment and interest and understanding the complexities of the diverse countries and cultures across the continent.’’

He explained that US military policy remains predominantly oriented towards non-military objectives, stressing that each year, the U.S. Government spends about nine billion U.S. dollars on initiatives and activities in Africa.

Of the amount, he said that only 250 million US dollars or roughly three per cent is spent on military programmes, while the rest goes to programmes aimed at improving health and development as well as promoting fair trade and good governance.

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