DOMESTIC CONSTRAINTS ON NIGERIA’S ROLE IN ECOWAS MANAGEMENT OF THE 2012 CONFLICT IN MALI

DOMESTIC CONSTRAINTS ON NIGERIA’S ROLE IN ECOWAS MANAGEMENT OF THE 2012 CONFLICT IN MALI

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Abstract

This study examines the role of Nigeria in ECOWAS’ bid to resolve the conflict in Mali. In line with her leading role, Nigeria had played a major role in preventing further loss of lives and property, and restored democracyin Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, with the current security situation in Nigeria, a sub-regional leader, it raised concern on what the country has done in the security and constitutional conflict in Mali. In this study, the specific objectives were to assess: Nigeria’s role, explanation for the intervention, and factors that affected her performance in Mali. It is the assumption of this study that; Nigeria’s involvement in managing the conflict in Mali was to enhance its national interest and policy of promoting sub-regional peace and security, Nigeria did not play a leadership role in ECOWAS’ effort to resolve the conflict in Mali and that Nigeria’s domestic challenges, especially internal insecuritymilitated against her performance. The HegemonicStabilityTheorywas employed to explain Nigeria’s role in ECOWAS intervention in Mali. This theory argued that Institutions designed to help states in cooperating with one another are more likely to be created and maintained when there is a powerful state that is capable of providing collective goods (stability) and willing to do so. As it affects ECOWAS, Nigeria has been a leading force in view of her population, military strength and resource (oil). The research employed both primary (through interview) and secondary data. Also using documentary method of analysis, the study demonstrates that the rationale behind Nigeria’s role in ECOWAS’ effort in Mali was linked to her national interest ( expressed in terms of the fear of spill over of the conflict, her hegemonic ambition) and her West African policy of promoting peace and security within ECOWAS. The study equally revealed that Nigeria’s role in ECOWAS intervention in Mali was more contributory and supportive than transformative. The study also demonstrated that Nigeria scaled down her contribution to Mali and later with the degeneration ofinternal securitysituation,shepulled outher contingent to bolster the internal security concerns. Other factors that limit Nigeria’s role include; problems of logistics, intelligence, doctrine and training. From this experience, it is imperative for Nigeria to promote cordial relations with other non-ECOWAS countries in order to share intelligence on practical modalities of an intervention.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Conflict constitutes one of the major features confronting the West African-sub-region and

the world at large. The sub-region has always been in potential or actual antagonism between

the political elite and militant groups. Accordingly, the fundamental incompatibility in most

Post-Cold War conflicts did not revolve around disputes over territory between two or more

states; rather they were disputes between two or more groups within a state. This

incompatibilityfoundexpression in the ethnicisation of politics, the useof religion as ameans

of mobilization, the violent assertion of rights to self-determination, the collapse or near

collapse of the state, resource conflicts and criminal activities through trading in precious

minerals like diamond, oil, arms and drugs (Bolaji, 2010).

This fact has been reinforced bythe end of the Cold War which has not resulted in areduction

in numberand intensityof conflicts in West Africa.Unlike in the 1970s whenforeign military

interventions were rampant in Africa, the dawn of the 1990s witnessed little or a half-hearted

efforts at complementary regional conflict resolution efforts. This is probably as a result of

the end of the Cold War politics and the shift in attention of the super powers to the geo-

strategically explosive situations in the Persian Gulf. In this case, the end of Cold War was

obviously a monumental disaster for the security of many post-colonial African states,

exposing them to the full wrath of the majority poor citizens who had been impoverished by

perverse economic performance of rulers since independence (Ate, 2011). Ate added that,

these failings aggravated by social and economic dislocations, set the stage for explosion of


intra-state conflicts across the continent. At the level of West Africa, the end of Cold War

signified the explosion of civil war which exposed the challenges faced by the sub-region.

Furthermore, Afisi (2009) observed that though conflicts in general are not always violent,

nevertheless those that have plagued West Africa at community, state and regional levels

have been characterized by violence.     In countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone violent

conflicts have led to population dislocation and wrecking of the     socio-economic

infrastructure. In August 1990, there were 225,000 Liberian refugees in Guinea, 150,000 in

Cote d’Ivoire, 69,000 in Sierra Leone and a large population of Liberians in Nigeria. In the

same vein, 5,000 people had been killed and about 3,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians and Sierra

Leonean population were being held hostage by the insurgents from National Patriotic Front

of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor (Oche, 2000). The destructive effects of such

conflicts and theireconomicand securityconsequences havetouched the conscienceof many

leaders, particularly Nigeria in the sub-region and left ECOWAS (Economic Community of

West African States) with no other choice but respond in order to stop the carnage.

Against this backdrop, peace and conflict resolution have emerged as issues of great concern

in West Africa. In this respect, ECOWAS, which was initially established as an economic

integration grouping has become entrusted with security and peacemaking functions in order

to achieve these goals effectively, the ECOWAS Authority created the ECOWAS Monitory

Observer Group (ECOMOG) in August 1990 to serve as an intervention Force in the sub-

region. ECOMOG has since participated in restoring peace and security in most countries


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