The Republic of Liberia is one of the oldest independent countries in Africa, and prior to the military takeover of government in 1980, the country was regarded as one of the most stable democracies in the continent. The Liberian Civil war can be divided into two parts: the first is from 1989 when it broke out to 1996 when Samuel Doe was ousted by Charles Taylor; while the second was from this period to when President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson was elected into power. As the situation in Liberia deteriorated with no central forces to contain the rebels; the brutal killings of innocent citizens and foreigners; and the explosion in the number of refugees and on the request of the then Liberian President, Samuel Doe for ECOWAS peacekeeping force into Liberia, to mitigate the increasing terror and tension, the Economic Community of West African State Monitoring Group - ECOMOG - under the pivotal role of Nigeria was formed, with bulk of the finance, Logistics, troops, refugees camps provided by Nigeria which significantly led to ceasefire in 1996. The political and diplomatic initiatives which finally restored peace and democracy in Liberia was also from Nigeria.








1.1       Background of the study

1.2       Statement of Research Problem

1.3       Purpose of Study

1.4       Significance of Study

1.5       Scope of Study

1.6      Methodology or Research

Notes and References




Literature Review

Notes and References




3.1       The Structural and Historical Roots of the Liberian War

3.2       The Dynamics and Dimension of Liberia Civil War

Notes and References




4.1 Nigeria and ECOWAS: Factors of intervention in the Liberia civil war.

4.2 Issues and Controversies in the Nigeria's Contribution toward ECOWAS Peace Imitative in Liberia

Notes and References  



5.1 Summary

5.2 Conclusion


Notes and references





1.1     Background of the study

The issue of security is of utmost concern to all political systems. Either at the domestic or international level, a premium is usually placed on security as a means towards survival, protection and advancement. Through, security as a concept is a complex and multifaceted one depending on the discernible variables and character of a social system in focus, but it is usually associated with a certain type of threat. As individuals and groups seek security as a major endeavour, so also do nation states and non-state actors desire and ultimately pursue the condition for security within their operational environment, in this case; the international system.

Considerably the kind of security that is sought at the international level aims at balancing, and culminating in the quest for stability, peace and social maximization which all units and entities 'desire, within the intricate web of the international system.

The international system itself, witnessed, an unprecedented monumental devastation and disruption in the twentieth century, occasioned by the outbreak of two major wars on global scale and ancillary ones, thereby generating a universal concern towards evolving mechanisms for international security, that is intricately linked with prevention or reduction of threats that potentially undermine world peace.

The institutional mechanisms such as the efforts that led to the formation of the United Nations (UN) and its precursor, the League of Nations are notable, in the bid to ensuring international peace and security through "collective security". In advancing its committed objective to the causes of international peace and security, the UN implied in the preamble to its Charter: prevention of war, proinotion of human rights, equality of persons and nations, maintenance of justice, promotion of social progress and higher living standards. Also to emphasize its ultimate of collective security in the achievement of international peace and security, the Article of the chapter states the purposes of the UN to include:

1.                  Maintenance of international peace and security, and to that end to take collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace.

2.                  Development of friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; and

3.                 Achievement of international cooperation In solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and In promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

From the foregoing, it is remarkable that the concern and commitment to international peace and security are prime considerations in the establishment of the UN However, within the first decade of its existence, the outbreak of the subtle, but ominous cold war sharply divided the world and made it virtually impossible for the objectives of collective security to be achieved, impracticable in face of broken linkages. Thus "the demands and of the cold war made consensus and cooperative handling of security problems almost impossible”.

During the period also, the condition for peace and security was defined in military terms especially in the mutually antagonistic relations between the east and west, leaving the third world countries including Africa insignificant and marginalized in the scheme of global peace and security imperative.

It was during the cold war that period, most countries in Africa emerged as nation states and actors in the international system, with little or no influence in determining or setting agenda for international peace and security. With the condition of their emergence, the prevailing international circumstances and nature and structure of the emergent states in Africa, it was not unexpected to expect the widespread outbreak of civil and internecine wars within and among African states with little regards to its constrains on the global strategic considerations.

In the aftermath of the cold war, while it beckoned on powerful segments of the world that a major feat has been achieved toward international peace and security requiring a celebration of sort, African was embroiled in wars and conflicts in which countries, such an Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) Liberia, Sierra-Leona, Sudan etc. were engulfed in whole scale civil wars.

It was also within the context of the UN's international mandate, and the cold war era, the post-independence uncertainty in Africa and the latter post-cold war instability in the continent that Nigeria emerged and consequently shaped its defense and foreign policies to respond to security challenges and contribute to international peace and security. From the period of the country's independence, Nigeria has been playing some important roles to define its actorship in the international system. It is as a result of this, that Nigeria has discharged outstanding responsibility towards maintaining security at the sub-regional, regional and global levels.

The maturity of Nigeria in this vital area of international endeavour has been more profoundly reflected in the Liberian civil conflict of the 1990s, which provided a test case for the country to lead the first real case of multinational peace-enforcement action.


1.2     Statement of Research Problem

Peace and security conditions are of great concern to all human societies: primarily, they impinge on the survival of every human being or society. In the international system peace and security are perceived all absence or elimination of threats against the values and interest of the nation-states, which serve as the primary components of the international systems. In the absence of a government balanced with the legal instrument and, the capacity to enforce laws and sanctions, the international space therefore becomes a theatre where nation-states compete for values through the articulation of interests which are usually conflicting. The international system is permanently anarchical and insecure. It is within this anarchical situation of international system that the nation-states seek goals which are defined in terms of promoting national peace and security in the complex and interdependent world. In considering the conflict possibilities in some troubled regions of the world, particularly Africa, therefore, it is likely that the conflict may increase and Nigeria like other counties in pursuant of its national interests and values is likely to get involved. As noted if there are events that have the potential to threaten the stability peace and security of the international environment, Nigeria in collaboration with others, was bound to react in order to avert disaster and ensure peace, tranquility and harmony.

In considering the basis of the foregoing, the cluster of factors that influenced Nigeria's intervention in the Liberian civil war, bearing on the country's national interest that justified the rationale for the level of Nigeria's intervention in the crisis became relevant. Finally, analysis, the motive and consequences of Nigeria's role in the Liberian civil war become relevant in unraveling the strategic problem of Nigeria's contribution to international peace and security. This basis of consideration is the theme which sets to be addressed in this work.


1.3     Purpose of Study

The broad objective of this study is to critically examine the contribution of Nigeria towards international peace and security, using the interventionist role of the country in the Liberian civil war, as a template of analysis. Consequently, the specific objectives of the work are to:

i.          Examine the factors that shape Nigeria's commitment and contribution towards international peace

ii.        Examine the challenge which relative instability in the immediate and global environment pose on Nigeria's national interests.

iii.     Assess Nigeria's capacity and predisposition towards international peace and security look at the dimension of the challenge of the civil war in Liberia on Nigeria's defense and foreign policies on one hand, and the factors that compel Nigeria's commitment in international peace keeping on the other could; and

iv.     Identify the implication of Nigeria's role in the Liberian crisis for similar international peace and security challenges to Nigeria in particular and other countries of the world in general.


1.4     Significance of Study

The general state of instability and insecurity in Africa in the immediate post-cold war era was as widespread as well as complex, within which vortex the resolve of the international peace and security actors to maintain international peace and security could be measured. In. the case of the Liberian war, the limited role played by most powerful countries of the world, in restoring peace and security in the then war torn area could be excused on the reasons of remoteness to the scene of conflict, insufficient capability and political will and the conflict of national interest, the role of Nigeria in the scenario was intricate. Though, attempts have variously been made to examine Nigerian's role in this major international challenges, however, the dynamic nature of investigation of the variables and implications of Nigeria's international commitment towards international peace and security is unlimited. The need to continuously identify dimensions that have not featured in earlier attempts is an ongoing academic challenge. This work is therefore an attempt at examining the internationalist role of Nigeria as a dimension of appreciating the variable and elements of Nigeria's contribution to international peace and security, and also, to contribute to the on state-centric role of Nigeria in this regard.


1.5     Scope of Study

The study covered the period, starting with the first and second outbreak of Liberian Civil War in December 1989 and 2003, during which Nigeria was instrumented in restoring peace and helped in permanently enthroning democratic rule in the war tom country.


1.6     Methodology or Research

The interpretative and evaluative nature of this work make the data obtained for the purpose of analysis mainly from the secondary sources. The study therefore relied on extensive library and internet search of books, journal, articles, newspapers and other resource documents for a critical role analysis on the subject matter.








Notes and References

1       United Nations, Charier of the United Nations and the statute of the International Court of Justice, (New York, United Nations) p.l

2        Ibid, p.3

3       S.A Ochoche (1997) Changing Concepts of International Peace and Security" in Chris A, Garuba (ed.) International Peace and Security: The Nigerian Contribution, (Lagos Gabumo Publishing Company Limited, 1997) p.24 4.

4        Ibid, p.26

5        Adisa Jinmi (1990) "The politics of ~egional Military Cooperation: The Case of Economy" in M.A. Vogt (ed.) The Liberian Crisis at Regional Peace Keeping (Lagos, Gabumo Publishing Company, 1992), p.225.

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