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The IUP Journal of International Relations :
Nigeria’s Peace Role in Africa: Assessing the Logic for Nigeria’s Involvement in Africa’s Security Challenges
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Africa’s peace situation is without a doubt deplorable. Increased civil strife and military conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, etc., with the attendant and concomitant genocidal incidences, horrendous destructions and displacements with a possible spillover effect to the rest of the continent, are obvious and bear out the above assertion. As this ugly security situation persists, Nigeria’s perception of herself as Africa’s giant fueled by the reluctance of global powers to be actively engaged in African conflicts, among other reasons, propel her involvements in Africa’s peace. This paper probes Nigeria’s role in Africa’s peace. It interrogates the rationale and reasonableness of Nigeria’s motives for intervening in Africa’s security challenges. The paper finds that Nigeria’s peace role in Africa is not without challenges and limitations. The motives are flawed and have left much to be desired. Inter alia, substantial commitments of human and material resources to back up foreign policy decisions and actions, especially in conflict resolution and peacekeeping, have not yielded the desired respect and influence for Nigeria in Africa or elsewhere. Neither has it yielded any significant dividend in terms of investment opportunities for Nigeria in the countries that it helped, nor has it garnered popular acceptance domestically. The paper recommends that Nigeria’s peace role in Africa should be based on a clearly defined national interest and security policy and not on a poorly conceptualized notion of ‘manifest destiny’ and personal ambitions of its leaders.

 
 
 

Peace appeared to have eluded Africa given the prevalence of various forms of carnage, brutality, pogroms and genocide associated with incessant civil wars and other forms of violent conflicts evident in the continent. Since especially the post-Cold War era, there have been alarming incidences of medium and high intensity conflicts with the attendant consequences of deaths, instability, displacements and refugees. This situation is exemplified in Somalia, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Algeria, Sierra Leone, Angola, Congo Brazzaville and Liberia.1 The African continent by these eruptions has without a doubt been adjudged the home and theater of the world’s most brutal conflicts.2 Arising from these incessant violent political convulsions has been Africa’s inability to embark on the path of development, for as Dokubo would say, “conflicts have assumed epidemic proportions and an impediment to development.”3 The meager developmental gains the fragile African states may have recorded in the aftermath of independence have been eroded by violent conflicts. The economic bases of countries like Sierra-Leone and Liberia have been virtually destroyed as a result of conflicts.4 The political superstructure of the state of Somalia has disintegrated as a culmination of civil war. As a result of its own protracted internal conflict, Angola has not been able to embark on any meaningful developmental process since its independence. The state collapse and failure, serious breakdown of law and order and immense insecurity of grave dimensions have been recurring. States appear no longer capable to generate the fundamental conditions for the protection of life, satisfaction of basic needs, etc.

 
 
 

Nigeria’s Peace Role in Africa, Africa’s Security Challenges