Connect with us

History & International Studies

The Nigerian Military And Peacekeeping In West Africa, 1990-2005: The Case Of Liberia And Sierra-Leone




This Study on ‘the Nigerian Military and Peacekeeping in West Africa, 1990-2005: the case of Liberia and Sierra-leone’ centres on examining Nigeria’s concern for West Africa.  This concern is appraised through the extent to which Nigeria committed finances and personnel in Liberian and Sierra-Leonean Crises.  In doing this, history research method became imperative.  This involves diligent collection and analysis of Primary and Secondary Sources of important information.  Field work was embarked upon to acquire first hand information, based on locating soldiers who participated in these crisis to ensure at least, high level objectivity and to be sure of the findings. It was discovered that Nigeria committed huge amount of finance in responding to crises situation in West Africa with special reference to Liberia and Sierra-Leone.



           Peace-Keeping is a deliberate effort to maintain durable peace in a nation or between nations that experience war.  In the world today, war appears more as the inevitable destiny of nations.  Many historic efforts made to prevent wars worldwide, till today, have remained illusory.  This is why Lt. General Albrecht Von Boguslawski asserted that War was the law of nature, while perpetual peace, advocated by the philosophers of the eighteenth century, was a dream, and not even a beautiful one.

It is against this backdrop that economically and militarily viable nations must try to ensure that they intervene in weaker nations during conflict or war time.  Nigeria as a big brother in Africa has taken African burden upon itself in its “Africa as the centre-piece” of her foreign policy.  Some of the peace initiatives that Nigeria has been involved include: Congo (ONUC) 1960-1964, Battalion Operations: New Guinea (UNSF) 1962-1963, Military observers:  Tanzania (Bilateral agreement) 1964, Battalion Operations: India-Pakistan (UNIPOM) 1965-1966, Military observers: Lebanon (UNIFIL) 1978-1983, Battalion Operations and Staff officers; Chad (HARMONY I, Bilateral agreement) 1981-82, Battalion Operations and staff officers: Chad (HARMONY II, OAU) 1982-83, Brigade Operations: Iran-Iraq (UNIIMOG) 1988-91, Military Observers; Liberia (ECOMOG) 1990-Division Operations; Iraq-Kuwait (UNIKOM) 1991, Military Observers: Angola (UNAVEM II) 1991-92, Military observers: Sierra-Leone (NATAG) 1991, Training Team: Angola (UNAVEM III) 1992-95, Detachment: Namibia (UNTAG) 1989-90, Military Observers; Western

Sehara (MINURSO) 1991, Military Observers: (Cambodia (UNTAG) 1992-93, Military Observers; Somalia (UNOSOM) 1992-94, Battalion Operations and Staff officers, former Republic of Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR) 1992, Battalion Operations and Staff officers: Mozambique (ONUMOZ) 1992, Military Observers: Rwanda (UNAMIR) 1993, Battalion Operation; Gambia (NATAG) 1993, Training Team; Aouzo Strip (UNASOG) 1994, Military observers; Liberia-ECOMOG: Sierra Leone-UNMIL; and Dafur peace initiative.

In monetary terms, the contributions of Nigeria to regional peace missions in Liberia and Sierra-Leone are in excess of US $10 Billion, and that is not factoring in the human price that was expended in order to attain, maintain and ensure such peace.  Nigeria also on its own volition has expended more that $90 million through the OAU peace keeping force that was deployed to Chad in the early 1980s.  In the 1990s Nigeria through ECOWAS launched ECOMOG and also bore most of the cost attendant to such endeavour and in turn had made the ECOMOG experience an ideal model and benchmark for UN in the way that it views the role of regional peace keepers, and the need to partner with such regional groups that have a lot at stake in keeping the peace in troubled regions.  Other areas of success will include the Nigerian role through the Leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo in reversing the military Coup d’etat that took place in Sao Tome, and also the ability and Leadership that was exercised by Nigeria in convincing former Liberia President, Charles Taylor to accept exile in Nigeria thereby paving the way for  peaceful elections in Liberia and a successful return of that country to a democratic regime.

While pursuing African concerns, West African neighbours have always received first attention before other African nations.  This study is strictly on Nigeria’s peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone from 1990 to 2005.  The first Liberian crisis in 1990 in which Nigerian soldiers died in mass, Sierra-Leone (1991) and latter Liberia again in 2002: All these interventions claimed a lot of money from the nation’s treasury and the lives of precious Nigerian soldiers.  It is imperative that Nigeria Afro-Centredness policy is reappraised so that succeeding generations will find out if such policy that has claimed lives and much finance by military should be sustained or jettisoned.

The necessity that propelled this work at this time is anchored on the premise that many Nigerians are of the opinion that “African as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy is a useless policy, to them it had not encouraged any significant development at home.  More allusion was made to the nation’s extravagancy by the citizens during the Liberian and Sierra-Leone crises and the extent to Nigeria’s intervention.

The question at this point is should the nation continue on this policy option?, If yes, what benefit can she derive?.  This study will present a good balance sheet for a better national decision in relation to the military dimension of “Africa as the centre-piece” of Nigeria’s foreign policy.

Theoretical Background

Economic consideration has served as pull and push factor in the relations that exist between nations, large and small.  Man and nations have been forced to engage in different relations with the world outside them is a reality.  Karl Marx in his materialist interpretation of history revealed the class relationship that exists between the “Haves” and the “Have-nots” 3.  In this case, the Haves are the rich nations of the world whose relations with their weaker fellows have been for exploitation and to sustain the perpetual position of the influential state.  However, the weaker nations are always struggling to come out of their weakness.  This is why economically backward nations of the world prefer intercourse with the superior ones.  To Marx, this class struggle is the cause of war globally.

See also  Border Security And Ogun State Economy, 1976-2015

One question that keeps striking is if Karl Marx contrivances were true, what economic gain has Nigeria pursued in ECOMOG peacekeeping in Liberia Division Operations in 1990, Sierra-Leone NATAG in 1991 and the effort of President Olugun Obasanjo to bring Liberia to democratic system, following the exile agreement for the former President, Charles Taylor.  One paradox is that the nation was placed with heavy financial burdens which ran into millions of dollar and billions of naira. Advocates of international interdependence have this to say about cooperation “As nations modernize and Society becomes more complex, states begin to interact more frequently with other states for a variety of reasons and in a variety of  ways, such as trade and diplomacy.  Economies become linked to those of other states, creating an interrelatedness of the societies of the world in relation to socioeconomic and technological issues.  The nations of the world are mutually sensitive and vulnerable, thus they will behave to attain cooperation rather than conflict over security issues.

Even in an anarchic world dominated by the security dilemma, however, there is far more cooperation than conflict between nations. Because wars and crises make the headlines and catch our attention, it is easy to overlook the fact that relations between states are usually positive and friendly and rarely lead to violence.  The national interests that all states pursue will frequently conflict with the goals and interests of other states, but the leaders know that they are more likely to attain their goals through cooperation and reciprocal behaviour.

It is apparent that Nigeria’s cooperation with Liberia and Sierra Leone was not necessitated by any economic gain or such consideration.  It was possibly under toned by the desire for prestige regionally and globally.  This desire can be related to the enunciated “concert of medium powers” by Prof. Bolaji Akinwumi, then Foreign affairs minister.  This question is worth being asked, whether prestige can make up for lost soldiers of Nigeria origin or has it multiplied the huge treasury committed in Liberia and Sierra-Leone crisis  in any case.

The enduring fact that has remain unchanging is that Nigeria soldiers died in mass in Liberia ECOMOG peacekeeping (1990), Sierra-Leone (1991), and Liberia (2002) which is going to be the focus of this study.  Military spending during this crisis amounted to millions of dollar.  Many women, young and aged whose husbands were enlisted for the peacekeeping moves became widows overnight.  Between 1990 and 1991 Civil Servants had to contribute part of their salaries for the peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone.  Liberia (ECOMOG) 1990-Division Operations and Sierra-Leone (NATAG) 1991, Training Team were such instances that Nigeria was highly rated in regional concerns in Africa.

It is a reality that Nigerian Soldiers died for the image of the nation to be sustained in regional affairs.  The question that has provoked this work is first, what have Nigeria Citizens benefited from Nigeria’s magnanimity extended to the West African Nations. This question has its root from the definition of foreign policy according to Northedge, that foreign policy is an interplay between the outside and the inside.

In this interplay both the outside and inside have to benefit.  The fate of Nigeria Citizens in some African Nations have raised the question whether or not the Afro-centred policy should be continued.  For instance, between 2005 and 2006, Nigerians were killed in masse and their properties confiscicated in South African republic and by South Africans for whom Nigerian blood was shed in 1994.  In several occasions Nigerians have been repatriated in Egypt.  Egyptians now appear to dislike Nigerians in their lands due to racial consideration.  This study is set to address this question.

The second question that has triggered this work is whether or not Nigeria should focus on internal problems and that after the citizens wants are gratified will Nigeria interfere in regional affairs.  Of a truth, Nigeria Citizens languish in lack of basic necessities such as infrastructural facilities, good standard of living, even, the oil that is produced in Nigeria is not sufficient for the consumption of Nigerians and its pump price has witnessed hyper-inflation since the past decade.  Nigeria supplies Benin republic with petroleum resources, Niger, and Chad received help in its power supply and other nations in West Africa.  Though this study is on West, the reason for this broader reference is to show how far Nigeria affluence has improved the lots of Africans while citizens of Nigeria wallow in abject poverty.

Among the rules for alms giving is the saying that charity begins at home.  This implies that for any nation to give much like Nigeria, the citizens of such nation must appear satisfied in that aspect in which help is extended to other nations.  It is a paradox that what Nigerians lack, are provided West African nations in surprising quantity and quality.  America from independence remained isolated from world affairs till the world war II (1939-1945). At this time, American economy was viable enough to hold world crisis in the UN security council6. But, Nigeria adopted “Africa as the Centre-piece” of its foreign policy not more than thirteen (13) year after its independence. A nation that had weak military capability continued sending soldiers to be massacred in peace keeping. A good instance is the case of Liberia and Sierra-Leone.

The third question is what will be a balance sheet for the Nigerians desire and the Afro-centred policy of the nation. Having analyzed the cost of peace keeping operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone with their attendant death-blow on the Nigerian soldiers as well as the financial implication, a balanced foreign policy will be enunciated to this effect.

Scope of The Study

        The scope of this study is highly restricted to the Nigerian military and peace keeping in West Africa 1990-2005, with Liberia and Sierra-Leone being the case study. The research will examine the reasons for Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy vis-à-vis military peace keeping operations in Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and the degree of Nigeria’s involvement in these crises.

See also  Socio-Economic Importance Of Ekeututu, 1995-2014

The study will also deal with the implication of military for peace keeping in the above countries on Nigerians and the Nigerian economy (1990-2005) with the hope of showing whether or not the military dimension of “Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy” is relevant.

Aim/Objectives Of Study

The objective of this research work is to:

♦ Trace the origin of the military dimension of “Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy”:

♦ Examine the Nature and the degree of Nigeria’s involvement in peace-keeping operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone between 1990 and 2005:

♦ Analyze their implication on the nation’s economy and the  people:

♦ Suggest a balanced foreign policy options and implementation procedure that Nigeria has to adopt towards West African nations in place of military peace keeping.

Literature Review

          A work of this kind requires that the work of other scholars have to be reviewed.  A number of works have been carried out on Nigeria foreign policy.  The core of the nation’s foreign policy is “Africa as the centre piece” policy.  The Nigerian Military and peacekeeping in West Africa is an offshoot of the Afro-centred foreign policy.  A good number of books written by prominent authors in Nigeria and outside the nation have been reviewed for this study.  But, time and space have made it imperative that those books that will not be reviewed here will appear in subsequent discourse.

Aja Akpuru-Aja among his reputable works in strategic studies has given clear picture of Nigerian contribution in peacekeeping in Liberia and Sierra-Leone through the study period: In early 1992, Nigeria foreign minister, Chief Tom Ikimi admitted that Nigeria had spent about N250 billion in an assignment in Liberia estimated to initially last six months. This was besides waste in blood which remained sealed.

This lays credence to the fact that military peacekeeping has cost Nigeria a lot of money and the lives of precious Citizens.  But, Akpuru-Aja did not show clearly the weight and effect of human cost of peacekeeping on the economy of the nation.

Commenting on the need to redirect Nigeria’s foreign policy focus to Africa, Kayode Oni quoted Shagari in his budget speech to the joint session of the National Assembly on March 18th 1980: Africa remains the corner-stone of Nigeria’s policy.  My Administration is committed to the course of the total Liberation of Africa and the abolition of racism in all its manifestations.  We shall neither relax nor relent until all Africans and all black men are free…We want a new world, where no man and no nation is oppressed, where men as well as nations are judged by the content and quality of their human resources rather than military or economic process.

This reveals that Shagari’s regime prepared the building blocks for Nigeria’s military spending in Liberia and Sierra-Leone which took place in the later years.  Though it was not shown in the book, that Shagari was planning military operations in the countries of study.

Kolawole in his treatise pointed out one of the major themes in Abubakar’s short-lived administration 1998-1999 which gave more attention to sub-regional affairs which later manifested in the degree of Nigeria’s involvement in the 2002 Liberia crisis in which case Nigerian Soldiers were killed.

…….Friendly relations with all nations of the world without compromising our sovereignty and  independence as we endeavour to defend and protect the legitimate interest of our sub region on all issues.

However, Kolawole was not specific and was not particular about Nigeria’s commitment to Liberian affairs, rather, his attention was on such pledged commitment on West African concerns.

According to Saliu, the Crisis which started in 1990 increasingly assumed serious dimension as a result of the carnage and destruction to life and property by the warring groups.  Saliu further maintained that opinion in Nigeria was opposed to Nigeria’s involvement in the Liberian Crisis due to the domestic economic predicament in which Nigeria was.  But the Babangida’s regime saw things differently.  His administration believed that the outbreak hostility in Liberia called for a practical demonstration of the county’s age long good neighbourline tradition.  Saliu asserted, an Unwelcome burden to the nation….Whose objective reality at home is clearly at variance with a high visibility in the world and its attendant human and financial cost.

Saliu did not comment on the degree of reaction the policy got from Nigerians, since it was an “Unwelcome burden on the nation”.

Adisa quoted by Ogwu and Osita Agwu maintained that there is the need for Nigeria to broaden her foreign policy beyond Africa.  Ogwu in this case pushed for other areas like economic diplomacy which will attract more foreign investors in Nigeria.  It is pathetic that focusing on military spending to tackling inter/intra wars in Africa has been inimical to development of domestic economy of Nigeria.

Addressing insecurity and the poor state of the infrastructure base as a basis for attracting foreign investment into the country.  Related to this is, of course, the necessity for Nigeria to broaden its foreign policy beyond Africa to include strategies for effectively engaging with global issues that have to do with conflict and insecurity in the African continent and beyond, but which have implications for the country’s national interest.

Steven L. Spiegel, Jennifer Morrison, Fred L. Wehling, and Kristen P. Williams explaining through the theory of interdependence in international relations, asserted that as nations modernize and society becomes more complex, states begin to interact more frequently with other states for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.  This implies that such relations must be guided by the desire to achieve certain benefits.  This benefits defined in terms of national interest should be able to address domestic economic lapses.  However, instead of peacekeeping in West Africa bringing fortune to Nigeria, it retards further the likely prospect of development.

See also  The Impact Of Igbo Diaspora In Nigeria, 1960-2010: A Case Of Benin In Edo State Of Nigeria.

Cecil Ibegbu in his treatise has broadened and equipped our knowledge of the existential realities surrounding Nigerian peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone.  His study was a broader outlook on the Nigeria’s peacekeeping moves and initiatives since independence, the financial, human and material input in each case.

The work of Jhingan M.L. in The economics of Development and Planning is vital.  The material presented Karl Marx economic determinism, that history attempts to show that all historical events are the result of a continuous economic struggle between different classes and groups in the society.  Part of the undertone in Liberia and Sierra-Leone Crisis is the struggle for wealth and power.  This is axiomatic and a vital theme in giving the cause(s) of these Crisis vis-à-vis Nigerian Operations an economic interpretation.  However, this book is not directly linked to the Study area, rather, it gives every historical events an economic causal interpretation following Marxian contrivances.

Another important work is that of Reuben K. Udo, whose work on the Geographical Regions of Nigeria makes it obvious that such environment factor as proximity dictates man’s relations with his fellow men, so also a nation with other nations of the world15.  This environmental determinism is proved effective with the reason Nigeria considers West African Affairs most imperative to other parts of Africa, and other parts of Africa being more important than other regions of the world.  Although, Reuben never did any work on Liberia nor Sierra-Leone Crisis but the central theme of his work on the Geographical Regions of Nigeria had made environments determinism meaningful in interpreting and analyzing the essence of “Africa as the centre-piece” of Nigeria’s foreign policy.

R.O. Ajetunmobi in his Historiography and Nature Of History16 set the methodological guidelines which any researcher making use of historical method of research should adopt.  This study adopts and utilizes history research method ideas of sourcing information that was borrowed from Ajetunmobi’s treatise.

The ideas in the above reviewed books have been interpreted objectivity to address the issues and themes in this study.  But, there are other books that were not reviewed which will be used in subsequent discussions.  This was done deliberately due to time and space.

Purpose/Significance Of Study

          Over the years, the problem with Nigerian military peacekeeping operations in West African Countries has been criticised due to the adverse effect it normally have on the domestic

economy of the nation. A work of this kind on the Military and Peacekeeping in West Africa: the case of Liberia and Sierra-Leone 1990-2005 is Significant to both policy makers on foreign issues and Nigerians who have lamented on the untold effect it have been having on them.

The Significance or purpose of this research work includes the following:

(i). It is capable of equipping people’s knowledge of the strategic strength of Nigerian Military in West Africa, Africa and the Word entirely:

(ii). It illuminates the degree of Nigeria’s involvement in West African peace-keeping with special emphasis on Liberia and Sierra- Leone between 1990 and 2005.

(iii) Financial and human cost of these peace-keeping operations is given special attention.

(iv). This study is a balance sheet for reconciling divided opinions on the posture of Nigerian foreign policy towards Africa.

(v). The study will help restructure Nigerian Afro-centered Policy, i.e, Presents a blue- print of action plan towards West African states that will neither be harsh on Nigerians nor West African recipients of Nigerian military aid.

Research Methodology

          History method is adopted in this study.  Historical research is to reconstruct the past systematically and objectively through diligent collection, analysis and systemizing evidence to establish facts and conclusion that are capable of equipping our knowledge and understanding17.

Primary and Secondary sources of information were used in this study.  By primary sources one means those places, people or human remains that provide raw information that were studied and analyzed by the researcher.  Such primary source of important information in this study was acquired from Soldiers in barrracks, military posts and Check points in Imo State.  Some of these Soldiers were eye-witnesses during these crisis and others were informed by ex-soldiers who participated during the peacekeeping operations.

To this effect, interviews were conducted, some of the questions raised included:

Why did Nigeria involve way she did during these crises?

How many soldiers were sent for the peacekeeping in each case?

Why did Nigeria spend so much in these crises?

Did other African nations who participated spend much like Nigeria?

What interest doest Nigeria have to protect in Liberia and Sierra-Leone at this time?

What benefit did Nigeria derive by participating in these crises?

How much fund was committed to this peacekeeping?

How many Nigerian Soldiers died?

Does Nigeria have anything to regret for participating in the peacekeeping?

What was the fate of Nigerians at home?

What were the reactions of Nigerians in Diaspora?

To what extent did Nigerian participation favour the economy of the country?

Do you suggest that peacekeeping should be continued, modified or changed?

How do we do this?

The interviews were carried out in English and Igbo Languages.  In collecting the information, audio tape recorder was used to record the responses of the respondents.  These pieces of information collected were interpreted objectively in this study.

Equally, by secondary sources, the researcher essentially reports the observation of others in a more or less, in personal or detached manner, the account of the reporter who is not an eye witness of the events.  In this study, such secondary materials like books and journals which were acquired from University and community Libraries, inter personal borrowing and personal Library were helpful. Internet source of information was not neglected.  Information derived were interpreted objectively and utilized to the effectiveness of this study.

Pages:  125

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF        

Chapters: 1-5

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Project Materials

IMSU Info contains over 1000 project material in various departments, kindly select your department below to uncover all the topics/materials therein.