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1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The interest in peacekeeping has been the subject of several studies and continues to dominate the minds of many on the international scene. Basically, peacekeeping relates to the preservation of peace, especially the supervision by international forces. It has been a subject of vast academic and professional inquiry, primarily because of its importance as a strategy for maintaining and preserving peace, stability, and order in conflict-ridden parts of the world (American English Dictionary, 2000). Enormous resources and efforts are invested continuously in peacekeeping by international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN), by world powers such as the United States, and by regional powers such as Nigeria in the case of West Africa.
Nigeria continues to play vital roles in support of countries challenged by political instability. This Big brother role gives credit to the statement that Nigeria is a significant Actor in peacekeeping particularly within West Africa. Nigeria‘s peace keeping mission began in1960 when she joined the United Nations. Between 1960 and 2014, Nigeria has been efficiently involved in various ways in the fight against the crumble of the African continent. This made her to promote the establishment of the non-alignment movement, the organization of African unity which is now African union (2001), the Economic community of west Africa states (ECOWAS).Nigeria also helped in the creation of, Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), she (Nigeria) provided resources, troops and financial backing that made the creation of ECOMOG possible (Net Resources International accessed 2014).
Nigeria has also led the diplomatic and military engagements to restore and maintain peace in Congo, Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leone and a host of other countries. In particular Nigeria‘s reputation as a regional stabilizer, conciliator and peace building efforts in the West Africa sub-region remains unmatched. Nigeria has played a prominent role in the peace building and integrative efforts within the West African region. At the regional level she has contributed to various peace building and peacemaking efforts on the African continent. To date Nigeria has contributed armed military contingents, unarmed military observers, military staff officers,
formed police units and police advisors as well as civilian experts to more than 30 A.U, ECOWAS and UN missions (Omotorere, 2011).
Generally, some of the peace initiatives that Nigeria have been involved in includes: 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) 1981-1982, Battalion operations and Staff Officers; Chad (HARMONY II, OAU) 1982-1983, Brigade operations; Iran-Iraq (UNIIMOG) 1988-1991, Military Observers; Liberia (ECOMOG) 1990- Division (-) operations; Iraq-Kuwait (UNIKOM) 1991, Military Observers; Angola (UNAVEM II) 1991-1992, Military Observers; Sierra Leone (NATAG) 1991, Training Team; Angola (UNAVEM III) 1992-1995, Detachment; Namibia (UNTAG) 1989-1990, Military Observers; Western Sahara (MINURSO) 1991, Military Observers; Cambodia (UNTAC) 1992- 1993, Military Observers; Somalia (UNOSOM) 1992-1994, 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 operations; Gambia (NATAG) 1993, Training Team; Aouzo Strip (UNASOG) 1994, Military Observers; Israel (UNTSO) 1995, Military Observers; Liberia – ECOMOG; Sierra Leone – UNMIL; and Dafur peace initiative(Omotere tope, 2011).
However, while the country is been applauded by the United Nations mission across the globe ,many Nigerians hold reservations regarding the huge resources expended on peacekeeping operations around the world at the cost of the country‘s needs. It should be notable that the financial, material and human losses Nigeria has incurred in these involvements have been significant. According to Ahmed (2011) Nigeria has not taken full advantage of its active participation in numerous peacekeeping operations around the world by not getting proportional economic, military, and political compensation for its participation. For example countries like Ghana which also participate in numerous United Nations peacekeeping operations, generate funds through this process to defray the costs of sustaining its military while Nigeria on the other hand has largely deprived itself of such benefits .Nigeria has grown to be widely recognized in the international community as an unrelenting advocate of global peace. The objectives and
principles of Nigerian foreign policy since independence made it mandatory for the country to be an active participant in African regional peace support operations. Furthermore, as a non-aligned country during the cold war years, Nigeria maintained a neutral position, which made her a dependable mediator and courted participant in the forces rose to restore and maintain peace in conflict zones (Ahmed, 2013). While most of the peacekeeping operations in which Nigeria has participated were united nations mandate and led, a few actually came under the mandate of the African union but more recently most of the peace keeping operations have been authorized and carried out under economic community of west African states (ECOWAS) mandates and often, Nigeria took a leading role at the operational level. This will review the enormous contribution that Nigeria has made towards security African peace and security through its past participation in peacekeeping operations. This study attempts to understand the reasons behind, and the extent of Nigeria‘s peacekeeping roles, identify past problems and current ―issues‖ in Nigeria‘s participation in peacekeeping organizations, and to also contribute to the broad knowledge that already exists in the peacekeeping operation field and hopefully encourage further research.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
Peacekeeping is the action of a third party between warring forces, enforcing a cease fire or other truce, usually in support of political moves towards a lasting peace settlement. The majority of peacekeeping during the Cold War period was limited to separating national armies in ending hostilities between belligerent states. Since then, the roles of peacekeepers have been diverse with rise of demand for new functions of international military forces in response to hostilities among ethnic groups. It is not by accident that the West African region experienced an explosion of conflicts in the 1990s. Many of the states in the region became independent between 1957 and 1962; a period popularly referred to as ―annus mirabilis‖ meaning years of wonder.
When many of these African states attained political independence from their European colonizers, they lacked the necessary infrastructure and structured institutions to facilitate adequate economic, political and social functions. Like other regions in Africa, the end of the Cold War diminished competition for allies by both the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and the West (Europe and United States of America). Writing in this vein, Gros states that, ―. . . the demise of the East-West rivalry did not result in greater attention by the West to Africa‘s problems.‖ Nor did the broader international community, such as the UN, care
enough to play any active role in the reduction of many African intra-state or inter-state conflicts. This necessitated sub-regional organizations, such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with Nigeria as its major participant, to respond and help resolve some of these conflicts. Regulation of conflict in the West African region became imperative with the Liberian crisis, which corresponded to the end of the Cold War (WaIter Rodney, 1982).
Adhering to this urgency, the initiative for ECOWAS stemmed from a desire by some of the member states, particularly Nigeria, for an economically and/or politically stable and developing region. In addition to championing the ECOWAS initiative, Nigeria has continued to commit to its existence and operation and by extension, ECOMOG. Against this background of overt commitment by Nigeria, Aluko contends that: The main ideas behind Nigeria‘s initiative are political, security, and economic considerations. For political reasons Nigeria wants an arrangement that will put an end to colonial divisions in West Africa. Furthermore, she believes that such a step will put an end to border disputes and will be an important contribution to African unity. Aluko‘s assertion implies that Nigeria believes, that through economic unity, the West African region will get closer to political unity, and that economic and political stability enhances greater regional security. The successive inter-state and intra-state conflicts in the West African region since the end of the Cold War, have added extra burden to Nigeria‘s roles in West Africa. From the time of her independence in 1960, Nigeria has participated in almost every peacekeeping effort in West Africa and beyond. While there have been write-ups on Nigeria‘s participation in the region, some of the discussions concentrate on whether Nigeria‘s overall interest in West Africa has a bearing on her need to emerge as a regional hegemony, as Aluko (1981) contends, Nigeria remains suspect in many West African capitals. Nigeria is seen in many of these countries as working for the eventual domination of her smaller neighbors. While efforts have been made by some scholars to document Nigerian peacekeeping missions, much is yet to be covered on the challenges facing Nigeria as a country in her involvements in peacekeeping. That is why this research is set to examine Nigeria peacekeeping mission and the certain challenges she has faced while undergoing peacekeeping operations and provide solutions where needed.
1.3 THE OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
The general objective of this study is to study the impact of Nigeria‘s peacekeeping role in West Africa.
The specific objectives of this study are to:
· Examine the foreign policy objectives of Nigeria in relation to her peacekeeping mission in Liberia and sierra Leone
· State the achievements made by Nigerian peacekeeping mission in Liberia and sierra Leone
· Review the major challenges facing Nigeria peacekeeping mission.
· To suggest possible solutions to the major challenges facing Nigeria peace keeping missions in West Africa.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
· How effective is Nigeria‘s participation in peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone?
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