ABUJA, Nigeria – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently established a permanent presence on the ground in Africa to oversee key U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) projects here.
Europe District manages construction in both Europe and Africa and recently relocated a project engineer to Nigeria on a permanent basis to primarily support the construction of new facilities for the A-29 Super Tucano wing at Kainji Airbase.
Project Engineer Adewale Adelakun began setting up his office in November 2020 and is now fully in place.
“To be there on the continent is a huge step forward in order to deliver high quality construction to our stakeholders,” Adelakun said.
While Europe District has supported AFRICOM missions on the continent for years, this move to establish a permanent presence is an important step as the mission’s support and partnership with the Nigerian military grows and includes AFRICOM’s work to promote regional security, stability and prosperity.
“We recognize the growing significance our work in Africa has on achieving our national security goals,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner, USACE North Atlantic Division Commander. “Having a permanent presence on the continent allows us to better leverage our capabilities to support AFRICOM's and the State Department's desired objectives by building partner capacity and sustaining host nation relationships.”
Now with the consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa into one command, the placement of a Europe District employee in Africa is more important than ever.
“Not only will this move benefit our A-29 project in Nigeria, but it will facilitate efforts on dozens of smaller military and humanitarian projects like schools, clinics, training ranges and more that we deliver to our partners on the continent,” said Europe District Commander Col. Patrick Dagon.
Now stationed in Nigeria, Adelakun directly supports the A-29 Super Tucano project, delivering a light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft storage facility for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The project consists of a $36.1 million contract for facilities to support a dozen A-29 aircraft. The work involves the construction of a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, munitions assembly and storage, small arms storage, a flight annex wing building for simulator training, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar and entry control point enhancements.
The A-29 project is one of several Europe District has in Africa. While Adelakun is a “forward-deployed” member of the A-29 Project Delivery Team, he is part of a lager Europe District team that oversees construction in Africa in support of various other strategic initiatives, including Humanitarian Assistance, Foreign Military Sales, Counter Narcotics and Trafficking, Building Partnership Capacity, Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative and more.
Current projects under construction within these programs include new primary and secondary schools in Niger, Senegal Benin, Togo and the Nyanga Province that will provide a safe educational environment for thousands of children living in extremely remote areas. Also included is a key boat ramp in Benin that will aid Beninese authorities in the fight against illicit trafficking of narcotics, and multiple vehicle maintenance facilities in Senegal and Chad.
Overall, Europe District has nearly 20 active humanitarian assistance construction projects Europe and Africa worth more than $9 million in 10 different countries. Dozens more similar projects are in the planning and scoping phases.