Nigeria’s Good Neihbourlines Policy As A Result Of Antagonism and Mistrust. Looking At the Peripherals Of Nigeria’s Sub Africa Neighbourlism Account For The Father Christmastime Of Nigeria Sojourn With African Neighbor From 1979-1990 Account
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Nigeria’s good neighbourliness policy was created to assist the country in establishing and maintaining peaceful exchanges in the wake of the aborted secessionist moves of the Biafra. The Good neighbourliness policy as currently enunciated, has outlived its political value in the wake of security challenges that cut across the boundary of the state, indiscriminately penetrating the borders of international geographic neighbours. However, several factors conditioned Nigeria’s foreign policy positions. First, the ethnic and religious mix of the country required cautious positions on some issues, such as policy toward Israel. Nigeria found it difficult to restore diplomatic ties with Israel and had not done so as of 1990 because of Muslim opposition and sympathy with the rest of the Arab Muslim world. Second, Nigeria’s legacy as an ex-British colony, combined with its energy-producing role in the global economy, predisposed Nigeria to be pro-Western on most issues despite the desire to maintain a nonaligned status to avoid neocolonialism. In 1990 this pro-Western posture was reinforced by Nigeria’s “economic diplomacy,” which involved negotiating trade concessions, attracting foreign investors, and rescheduling debt repayment to Western creditors. Third, the country’s membership in and commitment to several international organizations, such as the United Nations and bodies mentioned earlier, also affected foreign policy positions. Fourth, and most important, as the most populous country in Africa and the entire black world, Nigeria perceived itself as the “giant” of Africa and the potential leader of the black race. Thus, Nigerian external relations have emphasized African issues, which have become the avowed cornerstone of foreign policy. This term paper discusses Nigeria’s good neihbourlines policy as a result of antagonism and mistrust. Looking at the peripherals of Nigeria’s sub Africa neighbourlism account for the father Christmastime of Nigeria sojourn with African neighbor from 1979-1990 account. In addition, recommendations and conclusions were also highlighted.
The policy of good neigbourliness which Nigeria has adopted in its diplomatic relations with neigbours since independence in 1960 was founded on the premise that its neighbours have nothing to fear from its size and military might. This “big brother” policy grossly undermines national security interest and development. Innumerable cases of harassment and assault of Nigerians ‘sharing borders with its near eastern neighbor, the Republic of Cameroon culminated into the ceding away of the Bakassi peninsula, a part of the Efik Kingdom in Cross River State of Nigeria to the Cameron in a landmark judgment by the ICJ in the Hague. This foreign policy blunder has far reaching implications on the Nigerian state. This paper examines the policy implications of this rather idealistic foreign policy posturing in a geo-strategic world. The paper opines that maintaining good neighbourliness is good but caution that Nigeria should never again sacrifice its national security interest in pursuit of idealistic foreign policy objectives.
Nigeria’s relationship with her neighbours is predicated mainly on the issue of avoiding border disputes which might escalate into full-fledged armed hostilities. The series of economic, sociocultural and other joint initiatives between these countries and Nigeria are thus considered as preventive mechanisms directed at ensuring peaceful coexistence of all the states in the sub region.
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Obviously, the point of departure of this study is the analysis of international boundaries which were created in Africa by the colonial powers without due consideration of the social, cultural, historical and political implications of the demarcation exercise. In fact, the power rivalry between the British and German colonizing power in the period 1874-5 that is, during the Berlin conference, resulted in the creation of artificial boundaries between erstwhile culturally related people. The premise behind the European balkanization of African states was based on the quest for power as well as ensuring an equilibrium that is balance of power between the competing imperialist European nations. Accordingly, justification for the colonial demarcation of African states can be found in the following statement (Muir, 1983): “In establishing political territories each colonial power attempted firstly, to maximize its sphere of control and to connect its possession into large compact units, which might also act as barriers to the continuous expansion of rival colonial territories. Secondly, to control river basins which provided highways for trade, to established coastal footholds and for further inland penetration and thirdly, to avoid conflict over colonial territories which might be escalated into a European confrontation”.
Most writers on boundary disputes in Africa agree that much arbitrariness accompanied the boundary delimitation exercise agreed upon by the colonial powers at the Berlin Conference. The consequence today is that ethnic-political features of African landscape are distorted and disrupted as members of erstwhile same ethnic groups found themselves under different political sovereignties (Nwokedi, 1984). Other writers on political geography have also argued for instance that, “the distinguishing characteristic of most political boundaries in Africa is that their present location does not represent territorial culminations of locally generated political processes” (Kapil, 1966). This is why externally imposed boundaries are among the more frequent causes of war in Africa (Zartman, 1965). Consequently, one can posit (Whittlesey, 1934) that, “the political map of Africa today, is the product of diplomatic chess game amongst the colonial powers, a game played on European council tables since the 1880’s by men who never saw Africa”.
In the foregoing analysis, it must be restated that the resultant effects of the ambiguous and uncoordinated European border demarcation in Africa, are the perennial border disputes on the continent, but which has the following as its main characteristics (Andemichael, 1976):
- Occurrence of disputes between sovereign states.
- Escalation of disputes into armed conflict – becoming a particular concern to both the UN and the O.A.U.
- Involvement of claims by one party or the other on historical, cultural, ethnic or religious grounds to a segment of the territory presently under the jurisdiction of the other, a claim which the latter party regards as a threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In addition to the characteristics described above, the disputes can be further be categorized into four (4) major types that is (Prescott, 1965):
- Territorial disputes: This involves controversy over which state has the right of ownership to a particular piece of territory.
- Positional Disputes: This involves disagreement over the interpretation of documents describing the position of a boundary.
- Functional Disputes: This concerns the ways in which state function much as Customs and immigration control should be applied at interstate boundaries.
- Dispute over resource development.
Nigeria’s relationship with her neighbours, exhibit all the rudiments of the categories stated in the preceding paragraphs. The first and second categorization it should be noted, are major sources of crisis between most African countries. They occur mostly in areas where “boundaries are antecedent or superimposed and where the negotiation of a boundary between neighbouring states has predated the compilation of accurate maps and records (Muir, 1983).” One can therefore conclude that the fear and mutual distrust created by colonial boundary demarcations often increase significantly with time particularly, in the absence of a permanent and viable conflict resolution mechanisms.
NIGERIA’S POLICY TOWARD HER NEIGHBOURS
Nigeria is surrounded on all sides by Francophone states. Typically, her foreign policy goals and leadership aspirations in West-Africa receive perhaps the greatest challenges from these states (Ede, 1986). Nigeria’s policy toward her neighbours had since independence has been based largely on the following four principles (Ogpu, 1967):
- The sovereign equality of all African states.
- Respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of every African state.
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of other African countries.
- Commitment to functional cooperation as a means of promoting African unity.
Based on these principles, Nigeria has been totally indifferent to the internal political power struggle in other states around her. The lukewarm attitude of Nigeria towards her neighbours can also be attributed to feelings of phobia, real or imagined, of French response in case of an overtly aggressive policy against any of those states that have close colonial ties and cultural affinities with France. In addition to the French connection, the following three major reasons impact greatly on the non-interference attitude of Nigeria in her neighbours’ affairs (Alack, 1977):
- Nigeria’s respect for the principle of sovereign equality of all states and respect for African states.
- Nigeria’s apprehension of threatening the security of her weaker neighbours who might be frightened into the arms of some powerful extra-African forces that could pose a direct threat to the survival and national security of Nigeria. Moreover, active interference in her neighbours’ affairs could also lead to arms race which Nigeria could not seriously contemplate. An arms race would entail the diversion of the nation’s financial and human resources from economic and social welfare needs to defence matters.
The policy of non-interference as well as the nonchalant attitude of Nigeria’s decision makers was later reviewed due to series of events that unfolded within the sub-region. The events, it is imperative to note, resulted among other factors from the role of neighbouring countries in rendering military and humanitarian assistance to the Biafran rebel group during the civil war (1966- 69) in Nigeria. Also, threats posed by the establishment of a Franco-phone economic organization – The Exclusive Communaute Economique D’Afrique Occidentale (CEAO), in
May 1973 is noteworthy. The creation of the CEAO was perceived by Nigeria as an attempt by France not only to perpetuate colonial divisions and privileges in Africa, but also to use the CEAO as a counterpoise to the “big brother” status enjoyed by Nigeria within the sub-region.
Significantly however, it was at the inception of the Babangida administration in 1985 that serious efforts were made to rectify the frosty relations between Nigeria and her neighbours.
The strained relationship between Nigeria and her neighbours prior to 1985, was described by officials of the administration thus (Shagaya,
1990): “Virtually all our neighbours enjoyed what can best be described as frosty relations with us. There was a tense situation between Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Nigeria. Occupation of lands belonging to Nigeria by armed brigades of neighbouring countries had become a norm.
These tense situations were created out of the misconceived suspicion that Nigeria might succumb to the temptation to dominate her neighbours.”
In ensuring a continued cordial relations and reaffirming the good intentions she contemplates toward her neighbours, Nigeria, in her
“Presentation to the UN Goodwill Mission”, emphasized that border conflict between the country and her neighbours have been largely avoided through (Federal Government of Nigeria, 1996): “The principle of good neighbourliness, policy of cooperative security and preventive diplomacy which Nigeria cherishes and upholds even at the expense of its [sic] own national interest… Through established means of diplomacy, the process of boundary demarcation has been initiated with her neighbours (except Cameroon).
This offers a valuable opportunity to all the parties to discover and resolve anomalies and ambiguities that if left unattended could cause conflict.” In spite of Nigeria’s affirmation to maintain cordial relations with her neighbours, the reality of the situation is that the neighbouring countries, in particular Cameroon, continue to embark on actions detrimental to Nigeria’s national interest and security. In fact, the threats engendered by the contention between Nigeria and Cameroon over the ownership of the Bakassi Peninsular and the accompanying deployment of troops and military capabilities to the area under dispute, are worthy of note. Accordingly, an analysis of the threats posed to Nigeria and the implications inherent in the relationships will enhance our understanding of the volatile nature and the precarious condition of Nigeria’s relationship with countries in the West African sub-region.
RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORING STATES
Nigeria had cordial relations with all its neighbors–Benin, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea–as well as with other countries in the West African sub-region, with most of which it had bilateral agreements. There had been occasional border disputes with Chad and Cameroon, and military action against these neighbors was contemplated by the civilian government in 1982 and 1983. Another problem arose in the early 1980s, when Nigeria decided to expel many illegal immigrants, mainly Ghanaians, but this dispute also was resolved amicably. The guiding principle of Nigeria’s regional foreign policy was that of good neighborliness and friendship. In this spirit, it helped to resolve conflicts between Liberia and Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Mali, and Togo and Ghana. Nigeria also tried to make its neighbors “safe” friends, partly to re-enforce boundary claims and protect human rights of Nigerian citizens who were migrant workers and partly to stabilize relations between the immediate neighboring countries. For example, since 1988 it has established a strong presence in Equatorial Guinea.
To pursue the economic interests through of foreign relations within West Africa, Nigeria championed the formation of ECOWAS and, in spite of competing allegiances to rival organizations within the subcontinent, continued to support the organization’s objectives. Strengthening ECOWAS promoted Nigeria’s national interests through encouraging development of the region’s economy and discouraging its neighbors’ reliance on extra-African countries for military, political, and economic survival, thus serving such security interests as weakening colonial divisions within West Africa, ending border disputes, contributing to African unity, and strengthening West Africa’s bargaining positions vis-à-vis the EEC.
RELATIONS WITH THE REST OF AFRICA
The prevailing perception in Nigeria’s foreign policy was that, as predominant the African leader, it should play a big brother role in relations with African states. Nigeria was a founding member of the OAU and often channeled major policy initiatives through that organization. Most of its relations with other African states took place outside the OAU framework but were guided by OAU principles. Nigeria’s primary African commitment was to liberate the continent from the last vestiges of colonialism and to eradicate apartheid in South Africa. Promoting liberation had grown from a weak and conservative stance during the 1960s to an increasingly firm push after the civil war. This commitment was pursued most actively after Murtala Muhammad successfully backed the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola’s ascent to power in Angola in 1975 by providing the swing vote in the OAU decision to recognize the MPLA.
Nigeria had played a role in the independence of Zimbabwe and in the late 1980s was active in assisting Nambibia to achieve independence of Namibia. In the latter case, it contributed about US$20 million to assist the South West Africa People’s Organization in the 1989 elections and other preparations for Namibian independence. The country also contributed financially to liberation movements in South Africa and to the front line states of Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, which were constantly harassed by South Africa. Although Nigeria’s armed forces were among the largest in black Africa in the early 1990s, sizable military might has rarely been used in foreign policy. The army participated in peacekeeping forces, either alone or through the OAU and contributed personnel to United Nations peacekeeping missions. In line with its ECOWAS comunitment, Nigeria was one of the main contributors of troops to the ECOWAS Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) sent to Liberia August 23, 1990 after the peace talks there failed. Additional forces were sent in late September 1990 under a Nigerian field commander, General Doganyaro.
Threats to fight for southern African liberation were made but not acted on, but Nigeria did give military and financial aid to the African National Congress for its efforts against the apartheid regime in South Africa and provided military equipments to Mozambique to help its struggle South African- backed guerrillas.
In addition, Nigeria gave aid and technical assistance to several African states, often through the African Development Bank of which it was a major benefactor. In 1987 a Technical Aid Corps, operating along the lines of the United States Peace Corps, was established. Under it, young Nigerian professionals served in other African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries where their expertise was needed. Nigeria also provided scholarships and fellowships, training facilities, grants, equipment, and medical supplies, and subsidized oil during the 1970s’ oil crisis to African countries under certain conditions.
In July 1974, the Gowon government decided to sell crude oil at concessionary rates to African countries on condition that they had their own refineries and would not re-export to third countries. The decision came despite Nigeria’s role as an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member generally in favor of higher prices and after more than two years of deliberations. Nigeria acted largely in response to external pressures: international actors attempted to divide Third World countries into OPEC members and nonoil producers; various African countries, In July 1974, the Gowon government decided to sell crude oil at concessionary rates to African countries on condition that they had their own refineries and would not re-export to third countries. The decision came despite Nigeria’s role as an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member generally in favor of higher prices and after more than two years of deliberations.
Nigeria acted largely in response to external pressures: international actors attempted to divide Third World countries into OPEC members and nonoil producers; various African countries, especially Liberia, begged for less expensive oil; and both the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries had established programs to aid poor countries while encouraging other oil producers, especially African nations, to follow suit. Providing subsidies for African countries was a safe move for Nigeria because Africa comprised only a small portion of the country’s total oil export market, it enhanced Nigeria’s position and influence in Africa while building African solidarity, and it protected security interests by preventing economic decline. Moreover, this example of generosity aided Nigeria in its efforts to create ECOWAS. In November 1990, Babangida suggested that Nigeria might again offer concessionary prices to other African countries as the Middle East crises pushed oil prices upward.
GOOD NEIGHBOURLINESS AND NATIONAL SECURITY: THE LOSS OF BAKASSI PENINSULAR TO CAMEROUN REPUBLIC
The pursuit of good neighbouliness which culminated into ceding away the Bakassi Peninsular to the Republic of Cameroun in a land mark judgment by the Hague in 2002, is a foreign policy blunder of monumental implications to the National Security. Commenting on this abnormality Jubril Aminu (2005), remarked “Bakassi is one of those unfortunate accidents of history. It is one of our messy situations where a Court Ruling is not enough to settle”18. This paper posit that some “accidents of history’ can be avoided if individual interest is separated from the pursuit of public policy. For analytical purposes, the pursuit of the national interest is guided by certain objectives which are core, primary or vital interest, the secondary or middle range interest and the long range or general interest. The vital or core interest refers to basic objectives of a nation’s foreign policy which can drive a nations to war if those objectives were infringed.
A nation’s territory or vital resource areas, lives of citizens fall under the rubric. The middle or secondary interest are goals geared toward meeting public or private demands of citizens through international action like foreign aid, investment and so on. The long range or general interest involves the pursuit of utopian objectives like maintaining world peace, respect for international laws and conventions and so on. In the conduct of its foreign policy, it appears Nigeria is pre occupied with Utopian or idealistic pursuits even at the expense of its national security. Saliu (2006), asserts that “given the tin threat separating nation-states, the preoccupation of Nigeria with the maintenance of world peace should be seen as a price she must pay to achieve security in her own territory”. Saliu, however notes that “the high degree of prestige and resource utilization committed to such an objective could be a major threat to the state”. For instance, Nigeria “expended an estimated 12 billion United States dollars to resolve the crisis in Liberia and Syria Leone even when it experienced economic discomfiture at home21. With such huge commitments, it is expected that the country derives benefits that should have direct impact on Nigerians. Saliu observes that the pursue of foreign policies by other nation’s reveal that they seldom commit themselves to the maintenance of world peace unless there is a direct threat to it “which is defined in terms of clear national interest”.
Ironically, Nigeria, as exemplified by President Olusegun Obasanjo could sacrifice core objective (territory, the Bakassi peninsular), on the altar of an idealistic pursuit of world peace or observance of international conventions. The republic of Cameroun amply supported by imperial France exploited good neighbourliness at a time when the Nigerian leader compromised the national interest with individual or class interest thereby posing a greater threat to its national security.
NIGERIA’S SOJOURN WITH AFRICAN NEIGHBOR FROM 1979-1990 ACCOUNT
Under Shehu Shagari’s regime (1979-83), oil revenue increased, and then declined. Shagari pursued a modest foreign policy like Gowon’s’. Activist aims were neglected and ECOWAS continued to stumble. In January 1983, the Nigerian government responded to the economic downturn by expelling illegal immigrants which was also due to the various religious riots that occurred majorly in Kano and Kaduna.7 This was the state’s “worst international crisis ever since the end of the civil war”. This crisis affected Nigeria’s neighbours and further undermined sub-regional integration. The same depression continued under Shagari’s successor; Buhari (1983-85). He began his military rule with desires to appease Nigeria’s neighbours. However, after further religious riots in Yola in 1984, he closed the state’s borders as a means of checking illegal migration. This move attracted severe criticism within and outside the West Africa sub-region. At an All-Nigeria Conference on Foreign Policy in April 1986 (the Kuru Conference), participants maintained that they wished to uphold a sub regional leadership position by promoting development and economic integration, supporting the OAU, and continuing to lessen France’s local power.
However, given the Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil revenue, the continuous decline of oil prices gave Nigerian leaders limited means of achieving their foreign policy goals. From 1986-88, Babangida’s new government was forced to respond to the economic crisis by implementing a structural adjustment program.
By the end of the 1980s, reduction of expenditure and other economic recovery programmes enabled Nigeria to regain a bit of its prior regional standing. In 1990, Nigeria led West Africa’s Anglophone states in establishing ECOMOG (the ECOWAS Monitoring Group), which intervened in Liberia following the overthrow of leader Samuel Doe. The apt intervention was aided by the decline in French commitment in the area.
However, sub-regional concerns arose over Nigeria’s apparent willingness to defy its longstanding principle of non-interference in other African states’ domestic affairs. Some West African nations opine that Nigeria was exploiting the Liberian clash to propel a local “Pax Nigeriana”. Doubt was exacerbated by Babangida’s June 12 victory of the famous presidential candidate; Moshood Abiola, Babangida annulled the outcome of the election.
Nigeria emitted in crisis, which prompted the EU and US to threaten issuing sanctions. These reactions were just partially effective. Despite the fact that Babangida was forced to step aside from office, democracy was not reestablished. Following a short time of Ernest Shonekan’s interim administration, Sani Abacha seized control in another military coup. A month after Abacha took over; Abacha shook the locale by invading the Bakassi Peninsula, a purportedly oil- rich area debated with Cameroon. In March 1995, Abacha blamed a substantial swath for the policy elite of a coup plot. The courts sentenced more than thirty capital punishments.
Following universal criticism and dangers of expanded sanctions, these were diminished to jail terms. However, Abacha’s clemency was short-lived. In November 1995, he executed nine leaders of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), including Ken Saro-Wiwa. The US and EU reacted to the new incitement by forcing expansive sanctions. Notwithstanding, US sanctions excluded oil. Sesay and Ukeje argued that this omission weakened the effectiveness of external calls for democratization. In addition, Abacha was somewhat successful in spinning the sanctions locally as an anti- imperial struggle. Globally, Nigeria’s notoriety was insignificantly restored in 1998, when Abacha started an ECOMOG mediation to reestablish democracy in Sierra Leone. A point of reference by Adebajo and Landsberg is the Great Powers’ inability to intercede viably in Somalia and Rwanda in the mid-1990s which had expanded the fascination of regional peacekeeping endeavors, specific, since after the end of the Cold War. There was minimal key purpose behind superpower commitment in the locale. 6 Domestically however, Abacha’s democratizing intervention was condemned for its hypocrisy and wastage
IMPLICATIONS OF TERRORISM ON NIGERIA’S GOOD NEIGHBOURLINESS POLICY
One of the major setbacks to development in Nigeria is insecurity. Security is evidently the pillar upon which every meaningful development could be achieved and sustained. Nigeria is endowed with abundant resources; negligence to numerous challenges of insecurity of the environment appears to have created porous security condition that engendered violence and retards development. It is a fact that development of any state in the world depend on many factors, which may hasten or delay such country’s growth. Among these factors, security is central, security of lives and property plays a major role in the development of any country.
The danger posed by Boko-Haram in the light of the present onslaught and the extent the insurgence has shaped development trajectories in Nigeria is central to the discourse of this paper. The implications of this on Nigeria’s good neighbourlines are the central argument. Security avails the opportunity for development. Thus, Nigeria can achieve sustainable development only through firm prioritization of security in the development agenda. The Boko Haram insurgency has lately introduced a terrorist dimension into the crime space of Nigeria. The trademarks of this gang are destruction of lives and properties through bombing, abduction and slaughtering of humans like animals, most especially in the northern area of Nigeria.
It is no longer news, that, the activities of the Boko Haram sect have often led to loss of lives and the safety of their investment. Since the risk of doing business increases when there is insecurity in the polity, investors, who are to facilitate industrial growth and employment generation, loose interest in that environment. The Boko Haram sect is a highly destructive political tool, with a cosmetic pretension of being religious.
Furthermore, many from various ethnic groups seem to have followed suit in the exodus, while economic activities in the North have drastically been reduced as a result of this crisis. The implication is that, the crisis is causing under-development. It is further impoverishing an already underdeveloped Northern region and threatens Nigeria’s future prospect of joining the league of highly developed countries. Generally, Boko Haram’s activities have perforated the peace and tend to have impacted negatively on socio-economic development in Nigeria.
It has been observed that, a lot of attacks have been made in many states across Nigeria, including the federal capital territory, Abuja, while the puzzling part of it was the fact that most of the attacks are not done by suicide bombers, yet, the culprits often escape unharmed. This leaves a big question mark concerning the security apparatus and the relevance of agencies (as regards their duties in protection of lives and properties and the procurement of weapons of mass destruction and small arms made available to this political rebels).
Nigeria’s security situation has over the years deteriorated owing to poor governance, political desperation and government inability to deliver the needed dividend. To this end, there is need for government and stakeholders to explore alternative avenues (dialogue maybe) rather than force to finding lasting solutions to the security lapses and the menace of Boko Haram Also, combating a scourge like Book Haram necessarily involves a significant drain on the nation’s material and human resources. Government as a matter of priority and must do everything possible to put an end to Boko Haram terrorism and also reduce youth unemployment to the barest minimum to fore stall further easy recruitment into terrorist and other criminal gangs.
- Most importantly Nigeria’s good neighbourliness policy should be reviewed to meet the needs of contemporary Nigerian challenges.
- The obvious facts about trade imbalances existing between Nigeria and France should be the starting point for a rigorous and pervasive co modification of French markets with primary products from Nigeria. This strategy would not be an easy one going by the infantile state of peripheral industries. The strategy is essentially aimed at exposing the lopsided trading partnership and what is to be done about it. It is meant to bring the two trading partners to a round table. It requires the ingenuity of a radical leadership that is prepared to push through a proactive foreign policy that is a reflection of international politics. Co modification should be extended to the neighbouring Francophone countries. This would not only strengthen ties, but gradually edge out France’s domineering influence in their former colonies.
- Again, the policy of good neigbourliness should be tied to material-cum-economic gains to the country as opposed to the ‘father christmas’ African policy that becomes a threat to the security of the nation. Security as used here is not exclusive to military affairs. To some critics who abhor a “mercantilist foreign policy” for Nigeria, it may be instructive to note that the first industrial capitalist society adopted a mercantilist policy.
- A common historical experience of colonialism and neo-colonial predatory and lopsided international system should be a driving force for a renewed campaign for African and subregional unity as the only way of appreciating African nationalism as bequeathed by the doyens. These campaigns should involve inter-cultural and intellectual exchanges. If African Heads of state can eschew financial corruption, they can ganer resources for this campaign of rebirth.
- Security agencies should be effectively motivated and mobilized as critical stakeholders.
Good Neigbourliness in a geo-political world by understanding does not confer any sub-regional neighbor rights to harass, molest or abuse citizens of a ‘big brother” neither does it imply that a “big brother” should fold its arms in the face of continuous molestation by its neigbours; for, even in heaven, “the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force”. When comprador leaders compromise and collaborate with neo-colonial forces, they tend to abuse the national interest in pursuit of individual or class interest which in most cases is antithetical to the development of their states. This point leads logically to the near accommodation of France’s strategic and neo-colonial presence in Nigeria’s sphere of influence.
Therefore, this study examines Nigeria’s relationship with immediate neighbouring countries like Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Benin, Equatorial Guinea and the Niger Republic. These countries like Nigeria are vestiges of colonial creation. Nigeria is an English-speaking country (British), while her other neighbours, with the exception of Equatorial Guinea (which is a former Portugese territory), are historically French colonial territories hence, their political, cultural, military and economic affinities with France. These varying background accounts, for the series of crises experienced in the sub region within the past three decades. Strategically, the study posits that neighbouring countries had over the years been engaged in series of exploitation of Nigeria’s natural and economic resources and the encroachment on her territorial frontiers. This is why various Nigerian governments have perceived these infringements as threats to the country’s national security. In examining the importance of government’s response to the various threats posed by the activities of her neighbours, the study observed that the in spite of its policy of restraint and caution, which has resulted in the lack of firmness and of definitive tactics in stemming the tide of violations of her sovereignty, the Nigerian government had in over the past couple of years, continued to make attempts at fostering better relationships with her next door neighbours.
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