The world today is crisis ridden as a result of economic recession, social problems that include ethnic hostilities, religious intolerance etc. it is a result of this changing world order, warfare has become sophisticated. To effectively combat this situation, regional and subregional military cooperation are instituted to conduct peace-keeping operations in line with international, regional and sub-regional groupings. Nigeria, being one of the countries in West African sub-region,   has and is still using her military force to co-operate with other West African countries in order to maintain peace and orderliness in the sub-regional and even outside the African continent. In this study, the researcher focused on the problem of peace-keeping in West Africa, using Nigeria and ECOWAS as a case study.

The study is divided into four Chapters, Chapter one contains the introduction, statement of the problem, justification of the study, methodology as well as aims and objectives of ECOWAS. It also talked about the Africa and West African security scene in the international environment, the Nigeria peace keeping role in Africa, Chapter Two discussed different forms of conflicts between opposing forces, theories of conflict and so on.

In chapter three, Pace Keeping activities, Nigeria and the ECOWAS peace-keeping operation in Liberia and Sierra Leonean were examined. In Chapter Four, the study was summarized, concluded  and recommendations made.




Cover Page                                                                                                     i

Abstract                                                                                                         v

Table of Content                                                                                           vi



1.1       Introduction                                                                                      1

1.2       Nigeria and ECOWAS: Background Information                            5

1.3       Justification of Study                                                                        8

1.4       Methodology                                                                                     9

1.5       Aims and Objectives of ECOWAS                                                    9

1.6       The Africa and West African Security Scene in the

            International Environment                                                              12

1.7       The Nigeria Peacekeeping Role in Africa                                        14

            Reference and End Notes                                                                 17



2.1       Introduction                                                                                      19

2.2       Issue Field                                                                                          27

2.3       Theories of conflict                                                                           28

            References and End Notes                                                               31





Peace-Keeping Activities-Period 1990-2000

3.1       Introduction                                                                                      33

3.2       Nigeria’s Peace Keeping Mission in Chad                                       35

3.3       Nigeria and the ECOWAS Peace-Keeping Operation

            In Nigeria                                                                                            40

3.4       Antecedent to the Sierra Leone Crisis                                            43

3.5       The Deployment of ECOMOG to Sierra Leone for Peace-keeping47

            References and Notes                                                                       55



4.1       Summary and Conclusion                                                                56

4.2       ECOWAS Limited Capacity for Peace-Keeping                               57

4.3       Analysis of the Impact of Peace-Keeping on Nigeria’s

            Economy                                                                                            64

4.4             Recommendation on How To-Enhance Nigeria’s Foreign

Policy and Peace-Keeping Initiatives.

4.4       Conclusion                                                                                         70

            Bibliography                                                                          72                   








The idea of peacekeeping has its origin from the provisions of chapter VI of the charter of the United Nations (UN) which gave the UN a leeway to create modalities for an environment that is conducive for international peace. The necessity for pacific settlement of disputes by conflicting parties through reconciliation, arbitration or other peaceful means of their choice is contained in article 33(1) of the charter. The objective of peace-Keeping was to create a conducive milieu in which the dispute can he negotiated since it is assumed that conciliation would be difficult without the cessation of hostilities.

A peacekeeping force is therefore designed to difuse tension, stabilize the conflict situation enough to enhance peaceful settlement by the feuding parties and enable the dispute to be moved from the battle field to the conference table.

Alan James defined the term as follows:

"a peace-keeping body is a traditional looking military force, composed of a number of battalions and the authority of a commander. The battalions will have been detached from or supplied by various national armies, and the commander is appointed by, and be responsible to, the international authority which has arranged the operation".

It is evident that peace-keeping is traditionally conducted under the auspices of an international authority, often by the UN. However, the thawing of super power relations, has led to disruptions of society's established order which in turn has led to increase in armed conflict world over with the UN unable to meet the increase in request for the deployment of peace - keeping forces to perform a wide range of tasks many of which differ radically from the traditional concept of peace keeping.

The inability of the UN to meet this function has led to such responsibility being shared by various other regional and sub - regional organizations such as ECOWAS and other multilateral international groupings such as the coalition of forces that fought the Gulf War. Others are the Organization of American States, the Arab League, as well as the AU. These, have at different times in the past sent troops into conflict areas to aid the peaceful settlement of disputes in their respective regions.

The conflicts occurring within the African region have not attracted quick international responses equal to the attention received in other parts of the world because Africa it appears, has declined in importance to the powers that be. For example, the conflicts in Somalia, Sudan and Liberia claimed thousands of lives, caused great damage yet the UN failed to respond promptly. The UN only responded in the case of Somalia after repeated accusation of its neglect of Africa.

ECOWAS was initially conceived of as an organization for the integration of the economies of states in the West African sub-region designed to promote the harmonious development of the economics of member states which is to be achieved through the economic cooperation of the states.

Shortly after the treaty establishing ECOWAS was signed in 1975, the solidarity of the member states to the objective of the organization became threatened arising from disputes between states and sub-national groups within states. These conflicts are many and varied. For instance, a group of mercenaries arrived Cotonou, the Republic of Benin in 1977 and attempted to over throw the government, there is Togolese territorial claim to the Volta. region of Ghana, causing incessant dispute between Togo and Ghana, there was the territorial dispute between Mali and Burkina Faso which degenerated into a full scale war between them in 1955, Liberia and Cote d’ivoire have had occasional fierce boundary disputes, there are also armed incursions between Mauritania and Senegal over accusations that the nationals of the countries were being singled out for attacks by the other.

There is the boundary dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsula, the latter is not a member of ECOWAS.

The wave of demands for democratization and true popular participation has spread across the subcontinent pre-empting some government actors to seek and pursue democratic programs designed to provide adequate and effective management of the process in order to avoid any serious disruptions of social and political order. Unfortunately though, some governments have forcefully resisted the demand for change, leading to heightened tension and crisis. It is believed that the sub-region will witness a much higher level of crisis arising from the destabilization of the internal security of many member states unless definite steps are taken to stem the tide.

Although ECOWAS was primarily designed to integrate the economies of the member nations through the creation of a common market and uniform economic policies, the growing security issues and its disruptive impact on meaningful economic progress has constituted a major impediment. This situation has necessitated serious deliberations by member states of issues relating to their mutual defense.

Liberia provided an opportunity for ECOWAS to test run the concept of using a multilateral force to facilitate the peace process in a crisis situation. Thus, at their 13th summit meeting held in Banjul 6th July, 1990), the Heads of state of ECOWAS established a standing committee to mediate the Liberian crisis.

Following the repeated appeals to all warring factions to cease fire and despite the mediation committee proposed an ECOWAS , Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) with troops to be contributed by Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Togo the latter declined to contribute its troop at the last minute.

Essentially, ECOMOG was established as a peace -keeping force and this study will seek to know to what extent it realized this objective both in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the role of Nigeria as a leader within the sub-region.



To properly appreciate the prospects and problems of peace keeping within the ECOWAS, it may be instructive to start with noting some of the exciting and challenging contrasts in the 16 member nations that form the ECOWAS: namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. For instance, the Republic of Cape Verde consists of ten islands and five inlets right in the Atlantic Ocean and about 640 kilometers Northwest of Senegal; whereas Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali are entirely land-locked member nations.

In land mass, measured in square kilometers, Cape Verde and The Gambia have a modest 4,033 and 11, 295 respectively, whereas Mali and Niger boast of 1,240,192 and 1,267,000 respectively.

Again in terms of population, Cape Verde and The Gambia have 402,000 and 1,205,000 respectively, whereas Ghana and Nigeria lay claim to about 17,459,350 and 130,159,800 respectively.

As for borders, the smiling coast of the Gambia is entirely land bordered by Senegal. Whereas, Burkina Faso and Guinea are each bordered by six other ECOWAS nations.

Vegetation-wise, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin e.t.c have heavy equatorial rain forests, whereas Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso Suffer from poor rainfall and desert. encroachment or wastes.

Equally challenging is the matter of official languages. Portuguese is used in Guinea - Bissau and Cape Verde. English is used in the five Anglophone countries of Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The other nine Francophone countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo, use the French language.

For currencies, you have Escudo (Cape Verde), Peso (Guinea Bissau), Dalasi (Gambia), Cedi (Ghana), Guinea Franc (Guinea), Liberian Dollar (Liberia), Ougiuiya (Mauritania), Naira (Nigeria), Leone (Sierra Leone), and CFA France for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

With an area of approximately 6,138,228 square kilometers and an estimated population of 239,017,850, ECOWAS is not merely desirable but absolutely a formidable force in Africa and beyond Nigeria easily stands out as a giant in the sub-region not only for the reason of its size and population as shown in the indices above but also because of her natural resources. Nigeria is rich in oil mineral, which gives her a leverage over other large economies with little or no extractive resources other than agricultural produce. Countries in this category are Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania

The problems and prospects of peace keeping within ECOWAS must be seen not in isolation but in their global context that is to say, as man's desire to arrange for his future, in a situation of a co-mingling of humanity in all its diversity, each participating in the search for solutions to problems that, while affecting their members with a particular intimacy, are yet global, being inextricably, problems of the world.



This study seeks to critically analyze the factors that contribute to political upheavals as well as other issues that undermine the internal security of West Africa using Chad, Liberia and Sierra Leone as paradigms. This is done in order to forestall future occurrence and to guarantee the attainment of prosperous economic development. within the zone.

Furthermore, it will examine Nigeria's role in peace keeping or conflict management within the region and the progress achieved. In order to enable her chart, a course for a more viral foreign policy initiative within the sub-region.

The intractable conflicts within and between West African states and else where in Africa have diverted from the developmental needs of the various states to the management of crisis and tension, human misery and militarism within the continent. This study shall attempt to examine the basic issues that confront the West Africa sub -region in conflict management.

The project will also examine the thrust of Nigeria foreign policy and the ECOMOG efforts at restoring peace and security to the region and proffer suggestions on how to make ECOMOG more creditable with a view to restoring peace and stability in the sub-region.



The research methodology will make use of both primary arid secondary materials such as Newspaper clippings relevant to the research topic. Relevant textbooks on Nigeria's peace keeping and conflict management in the sub- region, current journals, and relevant seminar papers and where possible, interviews with experts in the field to enrich the project.



ECOWAS was created by the Treaty of The Economic Community of West African States in 1975, signed in Lagos, Nigeria on May 28, 1975 by heads of states and Governments of fifteen West African Nations. The treaty came into force in June

1975, after ratification by seven states. The ultimate objective of ECOWAS as affirmed in the preamble of the treaty is inter alia.

To promote accelerated and sustained economic development of their states and the creation of a homogeneous society, leading to the unity of the countries of West Africa by the elimination of all types of obstacles to the free movement of goods, capital and persons.

The aim of the community as stated in Article 2 of the charter are:

To promote  co-operation and development in all fields of industry, transport, telecommunication, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce ... for the purposes of raising the standard of living of its people, of increasing and maintaining economic stability, of fostering closer relation among its members and of contributing to the progress and development of the African continent.

These objectives of the community are to be realized in stages thus:

a)        The elimination between the member states of custom duties and other equivalent charges having same effect on the importation and exportation of goods.

b).       The abolition of quantitative and administrative restrictions on trade among member states.

c)         The establishment of a common customs tariff and a common commercial policy towards third world countries.

d)        The abolition as between the member states of the obstacles to the free movement of persons, services and capital.

e)        The harmonization of the agricultural policies and the promotion of common projects in the member states, notably in the fields of marketing, research, and agro industrial enterprises.

f)         The implementation of schemes for the, joint development of transport, communication energy and other infrastructural facilities as well as the evolution of a common policy in these fields.

g)        The harmonization of the economic; and industrial policies of the member states and the elimination of disparities in the level of development of member states.

h)        The harmonization required for the proper functioning of the community, of the monetary policies of the member states.

i)          The establishment of a fund for co-operation and development, and

j)         Such other activities calculated to further the aims of the community as the member states may from time to time undertake in common.

These are no doubt high ambitions, and indeed noble goals. Their message is of particular intimate poignancy in these troubled times of senseless wars and civil strives caused by the greed, intransigence and fool hardiness of power hungry men and women, who give not a damn for fairness to all and the rule of law except that it suits them.

Experts agree that ECOWAS is an endeavor to give effect to nation building within the concept of development regionalism. This is a postulate that assumes that if one accepts that most of the world's underdeveloped countries cannot develop by their rational efforts alone, then the best option available to them maybe joint policies of economic cooperation, co-ordination and integration designed to accelerate their overall rate of economic development. Some feel that the vital role of increased economic co-operation amongst developing countries as a whole is premised on their need to rely on their own resources by expanding the flows of finance, trade technology and skills amongst themselves. And that the strength that developing countries can gain by utilizing some of their collective resources will enhance their ability to influence global economic management and also mitigate the dependency relationship that imperial rule (colonial powers) built into their relationship with developing Countries.



The international environment, has produced dramatic changes precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. It led to the end of Cold War, the formation of economic union, an era of mutual distrust and farewell to mutually assured destruction. The event also paved way for the emergence of a unipolar power, the ascendance of United States as a sole power in the international system. There was also de-escalation of military confrontation, arms control and settlement of disputes through dialogue. As an example, the Palestine signed a Peace Accord in May 1994 with Israel. This allowed for general administration of Gaza and Jericho to the Palestinians. The changes in the international system have also produced change in the African security scene. The 350 years of white minority rule in South Africa that posed a danger to African security ended. There was an installation of black majority rule in South Africa.

On boarder outlook, many of the conflicts that threatened the political instability of African states in 70s and 80s were likened to the Cold War. The Angolan war was an extract of Cold War, likewise Mozambique crisis. However, after the Cold War, RENAMO rebels reached a peace accord with Mozambique. This led to peaceful elections and establishment of a democratic government then. The Ethiopia crises saw a change of government and a referendum under the United Nations for Eritrean independence. The Somali crisis, Rwanda and Liberia imbroglio later came to put peace in African continent asunder.

There was political instability in Mali, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria. While there was an increase in rapprochement among the state actors in the international scene, conflicts and insecurity in West Africa are on the increase. This was reflected in the presence of the United Nations peacemaking and peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone when ECOMOG pulled out. The initiatives undertaken by the Nigerian government to protect the security of West Africa Sub-region in 1991 was a new dimension. Nigeria spearheaded the formation of ECOMOG in 1990s to prevent political instability within the region. Under the leadership of General lbrahim Babangida, ECOMOG as a military force arm of ECOWAS government, came into being. Let us retrospect into Nigeria peacekeeping efforts in African before the advent of ECOMOG



From time immemorial, Nigeria has been in active peacekeeping and a peace-making partaker under the auspices of the United Nations. The Nigeria's foreign policy enjoin her to contribute meaningfully to the global peace and security. Irrespective of the government in power, the Nigeria's foreign policy never changed, rather it is the area of emphasis that differs. The first external deployment of Nigeria soldiers after independence was to stabilize Tangayika, the present day Tanzania that had army muitiny then in 1960s. Nigeria assumed responsibility for the Tanzania until a new- Army was formed.

The Nigeria troops were also deployed to Congo Kinshasha now Democratic Republic of Congo. Nigerian troops stabilized peace and order in Congo and came home with commendation. Nigeria also participated actively in other peacekeeping missions outside the African continent/ shore. The government first peacekeeping bold initiative was under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The then government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1981 sent troops to Chad to restore peace. Though this bold initiative was poorly managed, but government learnt a lesson. And the lesson led to affirmative and decisive action taken on Liberia and Sierra Leone. That is, peacekeeping require professional soldiers, good commander, proper funding and support of other countries. Consequently then, Nigeria's action in Liberia and Sierra Leone should not raise an eve-brow. This is because Nigeria has done the same indirectly in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa by giving aids and financial support to the people in these states. Rather than to give aid again, the government decided and went to real action in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In West Africa sub-region, Nigeria is the only country that have that potential and capacity that can endear others to military security. She enjoys geopolitical linkage in the whole of West Africa. Any military configuration in, the region without Nigeria's presence is shaky and may be virtually impossible. The ECOMOG Naval Task force came into being, due to the Nigerian Navy and become sub-regional maritime force. Thus Nigeria's foreign policy and the peacekeeping operations in the continent goes beyond the regime in power. These issues will be treated extensively in chapter three. However, since the concept of peace keeping presupposes the presence of conflict, chapter two will examine the concept, nature and theories of conflict as a phenomenon.


















1.        Alan    James: Peace Keeping in international politics (International Institute for Strategic Studies. Macmillan, London. 1990 P.I

2.        The Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African states "Africa Today London; Africa Journal Ltd, 1975 pp. 194-203

3.        Information on these were derives from the analysis in Africa South of the Sahara 1989. London, Europa Publications Ltd

4.        Ibid P. 119

5.        Okoi Ikpi Itam; Cross-border Practice within ECOWAS: Prospects and Problems. The Guardian Newspaper, Tuesday September 9, 2003 P. 81

6.        Ibid

7.        Alaja-Browne Oluwaremilekun: "ECOWAS and Nigeria: A critical study of the problem of Regional Integration": PGD Project: Lagos State University Ojo March 2004 P.4

8.        African Year Book and who's who African Journal Ltd, London, 1977

9.        J. Isawa Elaigwu, "The African Security in a changing Environment" in African peacekeeping: A case study of Chad and Liberia published by Ford Foundation and NIIA, Lagos 1994, edited by M A Vogt and L. S Aminu, P.2

10.      Ali Mazrui and Michael Tidy, "Nationalism and New states in African" London, Heinemann Educational Books 1988 Reprint, P.33

11.      John Galting, "The world Environment, Insecurity Development and Military Activity" New York, Knopf, 1982

12.      Adebayo Olowo Ake, " The challenges of the crisis in Freetown to ECOMOG" This day, Sunday Newspaper, July 17, 1981 P.22

13.      Oscar Ede "Nigeria's peacekeeping role in Chad" Analysis of Shagari foreign policy initiatives" Democrate newspaper July 17, 1981, P. 22

14.      Ibid,    P.23

15.      Adebayo Olowo Ake, Op. cit; P.15



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