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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Despite the relevance the Gulf of Guinea (Gog) bears for the international system, opinions varies as to the exact composition of the region. The geo-political entity known as the gulf of guinea, according to Merz and Yates consist of seven countries along the south Atlantic ocean, namely Nigeria, Cameroun, Equatorial guinea, Sao tome & Principe, Gabon, Angola and Congo Brazzaville‖ However, the Gulf of Guinea region faces several destabilizing factors and a challenging security environment which include narcotics trafficking from South America, smuggling of illegal aliens into Europe, irregular migrations, about $1 Billion a year in illegal fishing and pollution that threatens the coast and local food supply among others. Fisheries protection, drug smuggling, harbor security, and piracy undermine other commercial interests and scare away foreign investment. The global economy is experiencing tremendous changes with anticipated spillover effects on the Gulf of Guinea. Indeed, given the current political climate in the Middle East, which has disruptive effects on oil prices and causes shifts in the structure of oil demand, coupled with robust economic growth in China, the Gulf of Guinea is expected to occupy a more important place in U.S. The United States are paying increasing attention to the Gulf of Guinea. For instance, it is expected that the United States will invest more than $10 billion a year in the region over the next 10 years in oil activities; oceanic research in the deep-sea waters of Equatorial Guinea and Angola; the restoration and preservation of the forests of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, DRC, Cameroon, and CAR; the implementation of a training framework for African peace-keeping forces; and
discrete political interventions. This interest is driven by the United States‘ desire to diversify their sources of energy supply so as to reduce the risks associated with high dependence on Middle Eastern oil and to outdo the growing influence of china in the gulf of guinea. The production of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Guinea has the potential to fulfill the United States‘ and Europe‘s excess demand for energy. The Gulf of Guinea bears numerous advantages for Western countries. Also the gulf is faced with major issues that has affected the growth of the region ranging from maritime piracy, oil bunkering, trafficking, narcotics, illegal fishing just to mention a few are all major issues faced in the region
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Gulf of Guinea has assumed the epicenter of global scramble for natural resources particularly the oil and gas resources. In view of the existing literature claim that the deepening of extra regional interest and presence particularly of the US and China in the region would lead to serious development. Beyond the development that the neo-scramble is acclaimed to bring to the zone are the unfolding negative attendants of the extra-regional scramble. In this vain, therefore this study while seeking to grapple issues with extant literature, explains the hidden transcripts of the activities of the two leading extra –territorial powers within the region.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions are apt in understanding the unfolding geopolitics in the gulf of guinea
1. What factors necessitate the growing extra-regional scramble for space within the gulf of guinea?
2. What security imperatives are involved in the scramble for the gulf of guinea by the two leading powers?
3. How would the geopolitical tussle by the two powers impact on Nigeria‘s security.
1.4 OBJECTUVE OF THE SYUDY
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the connection between the neo-scramble particularly between the US and China for the gulf of guinea and Nigeria‘s alternative national security interests.
1. Examine growing relevance of the gulf of guinea to national and global security.
2. Identify the complex security issues relating to American presence and interests in the gulf of guinea.
3. Analyze the implications of the security issues engendered by the convergence of US and China interests in the region for Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Granted the relevance of the topic, the study is of importance to researchers in the field of international relations, international politics and international security. More so, the suggestions made in this study prove relevance if it would be adopted by the Nigerian government in guarding against the unfounded advances of both the US and China especially when Nigeria is a power curb in the gulf of guinea region.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Geopolitics: the study or the application of the influence of political and economic geography on the politics, national power foreign policy etc of a state. The combination of the geographic and political factors influencing or delineating a country of region. Geopolitics traditionally studies the link between political power and geographic space, and examines strategic prescriptions based on the relative importance of land power and sea power in history.
National security: It is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of ―national‖ crisis through a variety of power projections, such as political power, economic power, diplomacy, military might. Arnold wolfers (1960) defines national security ―An ambiguous symbol meaning different things to different people. National security objectively means the absence of threats to acquired values and subjectively, absence of fear that such values will be attacked‖
Maritime piracy: According to the UN. Convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS) it says that piracy consist of the following
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