The need to include Nigeria in the United Nation’s (UN) Security Seat that is suitable (from both Africa and global perspectives) to the conditions of globalization is a subject of intrinsic importance. It is also an example of how the extraordinary forces of globalization are reshaping international security fields. (The United Nation, in my view, should be thinking much more systematically about this challenge, but that’s a larger subject for another day.) Today, the system of security challenges that prevails in Nigeria blends constitutional law, public policy, the specific conditions of markets–with respect to daily newspapers, in particular–and the development of social security as a profession. All these elements emerged in the twentieth century. Like Africa, the conflict resolution is one of the central institutions of a democratic society. At its best, the conflict resolution serves the public good by disseminating information and analysis and by functioning as a public forum for discussing issues of importance to society. Perhaps its greatest contribution lies in its capacity for calibration: that is, the ability to judge what is important and why.
Nigeria has the willingness to wade into African regional turmoil have made the country a power in Africa. When there are crises, the countries have been looked upon Nigeria to be an arbitrator. It has always been like that. If you are the older brother, the stronger brother or sister, you have to help those who come after you. It is engrained in our cultural approach.
Nigeria has deployed troops on peacekeeping missions to calm conflicts, sent diplomats to negotiate political disputes and committed resources to organizations that promote development and economic cooperation between African countries.
This heavyweight status puts Nigeria in a natural leadership role, one that both its democratically elected and military leaders have embraced since gaining independence from Britain in 1960. Joining with other newly independent African countries, Nigeria helped found the Organization for African Unity in 1963 to promote African independence and solidarity. The OAU became the African Union in 2001.
Along with South Africa, the continent’s other superpower, Nigeria commands a broad influence within the AU. From May 2004 to September 2005, Nigeria’s President Olesegun Obasanjo served as the AU chairman. The AU Force Commander Maj. Gen. Collins Ihekire is Nigerian, and many of the union’s peacekeepers come from Nigeria. Abuja, Nigeria’s capitol has been the site of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups in Darfur. During the apartheid era in South Africa, Nigeria was one of the foremost supporters of Black South African liberation movements, including the African National Congress; the Nigerian government issued more than 300 passports to South Africans seeking to travel abroad. Sonny Okosun, a Nigerian musician, wrote the hit song “Fire in Soweto” in 1977 to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising against white-rule in South Africa.
Nigeria also played a pivotal role in founding the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, in 1975 as a regional economic organization of 15 member countries. From the trade-based foundation of ECOWAS originated the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, or ECOMOG, to unite the region’s armies to contain the civil war that erupted in Liberia in the early 1990s.
Nigeria contributed significant financial backing, troops and resources that made ECOMOG’s creation possible. From 1990 to 1997, Nigeria troops made up 12,000 of the organization’s white helmets. As the war spilled over the border to Sierra Leone, ECOMOG sent troops in 1998 to push back attacking rebels until United Nations forces arrived.
Liberia’s war ended in 2003 and the country’s president, Charles Taylor, entered exile in Nigeria as one of the conditions. In 2006, Obasanjo transferred Taylor to a war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone to stand trial for his role in the civil war. Nigerian forces are present in all of the United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa: Cote D’Ivoire, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Western Sahara. In total, Nigeria commits 2,462 soldiers to U.N. missions across the globe, according to the United Nations.
In 2005, however, 11 Nigerian police officers of the U.N. mission in Congo were suspended after they were found responsible for sexual misconduct. Though Nigeria has years of experience securing peace in other countries with the help of outside training and resources, its military may be better equipped to handle operations in other countries than to suppress conflicts within its own borders. The Nigerian military has in conjuction with her government amnesty program curb an uprising in the Niger Delta region that threatens to shut down the region’s lucrative oil industry. Peacekeeping remains the cornerstone of Nigeria’s regional influence but the relatively wealthy nation exerts an economic influence on the region as well.
Nigeria is the only country to set up a trust fund in the African Development Bank for poorer countries to borrow money. After drafting economic reforms within its own borders, Nigerian leaders helped policy makers in other countries with their own reforms. The Nigerian government also organized and finances a program to send doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals to work in other countries.
Obasanjo played an instrumental role in creating the New Partnership for Africa’s Development by encouraging other heads of state to create a continent-wide strategy for development. He also has promoted Nigeria’s role on the international stage, not only as one of Africa’s leading countries, but as a one of the most populous countries in the world.
Despite this role as a leader and peacekeeper, Nigeria is not completely free of conflict with its neighbors. In 2006, it settled a long-standing border dispute with Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsula and agreed to withdraw its troops from the area as part of an agreement arranged by the International Court of Justice in 2002.Nigeria’s neighbors may be wary of its power, but on the whole, they respect and appreciate Nigeria’s status as a leader.
Since joining the United Nations in 1960, Nigeria has consistently committed itself to the cause of peacekeeping and peacemaking. She sent her first troops to participate in the UN peace mission in the Congo, only days after its independence. In World Citizen, a former advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, Prof. Ruth Morgenthau says of Nigeria “is among the most committed countries to maintaining the degree of international order that the present UN decision making process permits.”
Today, Nigeria leads the world in international peacekeeping. Of the 80 countries contributing troops to over 20 global operations, Nigeria has more than 6,500 men keeping the peace outside its borders in places such as Bosnia Herzgovena, Iraq, Kuwait, Western Sahara, Liberia, Angola, Rwanda. Nigerian troops have also served in Somalia, Mozambique and Cambodia, The Congo, Chad, Lebanon, India, Pakistan (Kashmir). Nigeria and the United States and edited the first general textbook on the South African government and politics.The key thing in global peacekeeping are the men and women risking their lives in the interest of peace. Nigeria has more of those people than any other country in the world.A hastily assembled force of 1,000 Nigerian troops, the ECOWAS Mission In Liberia (ECOMIL), was airlifted into Liberia on August 15, 2003 to prevent the rebels from overrunning the capital city and committing revenge-inspired war crimes.
In keeping with a decision made by the Peace and Security Council, Nigeria sent a battalion of 680 troops on Wednesday, July 13, 2005, with two more coming soon thereafter. Rwanda will send a battalion of troops, Senegal, Gambia, Kenya and South Africa will send troops as well. C
anada is providing 105 armoured vehicles, training and maintenance assistance, and personal protective equipment in support of the efforts of the AMIS.
On September 15, a series of African Union mediated talks began in Abuja, Nigeria between representatives of the Sudanese government and the two major rebel groups. However, the SLM faction refused to be present and according to a BBC reporter the SLM “will not recognize anything agreed at the talks.” After a government-supported Arab militia attacked the Aro Sharow refugee camp on September 28, killing at least 32, the African Union on October 1 accused both the Sudanese government and rebels of violating the ceasefire agreement
On Jan. 1, 2010;Nigerian diplomat Ibrahim Gambari became the new head of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn western Darfur region, the United Nations.. Gambari,was former Nigerian foreign minister and current UN special envoy to Myanmar.
On 13 June 2006, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroon resolved the dispute in talks led by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York City. Obasanjo agreed to withdraw Nigerian troops within 60 days and to leave the territory completely in Cameroonian control within the next two years. Annan said, “With today’s agreement on the Bakassi peninsula, a comprehensive resolution of the dispute is within our grasp. The momentum achieved must be sustained.”Nigeria began to withdraw its forces, comprising some 3,000 troops, beginning 1 August 2006, and a ceremony on 14 August marked the formal handover of the northern part of the peninsula. The remainder stayed under Nigerian civil authority for two more years.
On November 22, 2007, the Nigerian Senate passed a resolution declaring that the withdrawal from the Bakassi Peninsula was illegal. The government took no action, and handed the final parts of Bakassi over to Cameroon on 14 August 2008 as planned, but a Federal High Court had stated this should be delayed until all accommodations for resettled Bakassians had been settled; the government did not seem to plan to heed this court order,and did set the necessary mechanisms into motion to override it. Fishermen displaced from Bakassi had been settled in a landlocked area called New Bakassi, which they claimed is already inhabited and not suitable for fishermen like them but only for farmers.
On June 14, 2011 The first batch of 800 Nigerian soldiers from the 34 Field Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Owerri West Local Council Area of Imo State, who were on a peace-keeping mission in Sudan returned.Welcoming the soldiers at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, SMICA, Owerri, the Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General A.I.G Danpome, expressed delight that their trip was successful, adding that there was no negative report against them.The soldiers who returned were 800 in number, the rest came back in batches at later date.
Nigeria has became less an assemblage of states and regions and more a national entity. The structure and institutions of the society shifted accordingly. The growth of the economy; the rise of issues with national scope, such as civil rights; and the development of new military strategy—combat, in particular—that enhanced international peace record: all contributed to the need for a Nigeria-inclusive into the UN peace seat that could function on a international level and was appropriate for a rising, robust, and dynamic international society. To that end, a complex ecology of First Amendment global policy and conflict resolution evolved. The International Court Of Justice, The Hague, initiated a series of landmark decisions that ultimately provided a unified bi-national approach on the Bakassi peninsular quagmire. Those decisions pushed the boundaries of unanimous resolution beyond what any nation in history had done before. They also articulated the important global role performed by the two nations: cameroun and Nigeria, locating the rationales for extraordinary protection in the political and social interests of democracy, reason, and tolerance.
Meanwhile, global policy intervened in the new peace accord and the green tree. With the ICJ’s blessing, the federal government organized a blend of global-interest regulation to expand the range of voices. It also launched a global peace resolution system with guarantees of sovereign autonomy. Finally, the Nigeria government used its revenues, especially the monopolistic profits of her locally-generated revenue, to deepen and expand its expertise to cover the legal services and legwork. Peace mission began to look more and more like a profession, with standards of behavior that transcended interest, profit, and partisanship. Global enterprise, market conditions, state policy, and constitutional cases—none of which could have given rise to a self-determined peace resolution all on its own—combined to create the best peace mission in the world.
In our current century, the conditions undergirding the system have shifted. Conflict resolution has gone global, driving changes of enormous significance throughout the world. Some changes are good, such as improved standards of living and better health for hundreds of millions of people; others are bad, like climate change, or problematic, like the fragility of the international economy, the tensions of multiculturalism, or conflicts between modernity and other ways of life. Ours is a world driven by business and finance, aided as always by new combatant technologies; in this case, the Internet and satellite surveillance are especially influential. It is a world that moves with extraordinary rapidity and that often resists the sunshine provided by a responsible army. It is a world in desperate need of the Dialogue kind of conflict resolution that only institutions of Nigeria military tacticians can provide. We therefore need a system of conflict resolution suitable to this new world.
I fear that Nigeria does not grasp the full degree to which we are becoming integrated and interdependent with other countries. Half of the revenues of s&p 500 companies are generated across the border. Half the oil consumed by wealthy nations are manufactured in emerging economies. Half of Nigeria government debt is in foreign hands. What happens to this world? How does it evolve? What choices do we need to make to create the best of all possible worlds? At the least, we should think carefully and systematically about what kind of conflict resolution system will provide us and other countries with the round-table-talk we need to address these questions. As form is sometimes said to follow function, so round-table conflict resolution follows issues—and the issues are increasingly global.
We should value enormously the quality of the conflict resolution criterion Nigeria can achieve in the troubled countries; it’s an astonishing nation. Nurturing it, helping reshape it through this difficult period, and building widely accepted a dialogue on a global scale is great goals. In these efforts, we can work toward a culture in which debate is conducted on the highest peace-keeping possible levels to suppress killings by missiles and armament.
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