1. Certification ii. Dedication iii. Acknowledgment iv. Abstract


1.1       Background information

1.2       Statement of the problem

1.3       Objectives of the study

1.4       Research Questions

1.5       Research Hypothesis

1.6       Significance of the study

1.7       Scope and Limitation of the study

1.8       Definition of terms



2.0.1 Introduction

2.0.2 Historical Background

2.0.3 Nigeria

2.0.4 Nigeria – Republic of Benin

2.0.5 Nigeria – Equatorial Guinea

2.0.6 Nigeria – Chad

2.0.7 Nigeria – Republic of Niger

2.0.8 Nigeria – Cameroon

2.1 Theoretical Framework

2.1.1 Neorealism

2.1.2 Liberal Institutionalism

2.1.3 Constructivism







3.0 Research Methodology


3.1 Research Design


3.2 Research Population


3.3 Samples and Sampling Technique


3.4 Research instrument


3.5 Validity and Reliability of Instrument


3.6 Methods of Data Collection


3.7 Data Analysis Technique





4.0 Introduction


4.1 Data Analysis


4.2 Assessing Nigeria‘s Foreign Policy





















This study examines Nigeria‘s relationship with her immediate neighbours of Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Benin, Equatorial Guinea and the Niger Republic. These countries, like Nigeria, were vestiges of colonial creation; and while Nigeria is an English-speaking country, her immediate neighbours, with the exception of Equatorial Guinea (which was a former Portuguese territory), are French speaking countries that presently have significant politicomilitary and economic ties with France. In spite of Nigeria‘s past benevolence to them however, they –neighbouring countries- do not regard Nigeria in such light.


Given the foregoing, the study, while examining the trajectory of Nigeria‘s relationships with her immediate neighbours, interrogates the hidden transcript that underscores their present relations. As such, the study finds out that Nigeria has done so much for its immediate neighbours that she deserves to get quid pro quo from such ventures. And in spite of not really expecting such, these neighbours, perhaps because of egocentric inclinations and/or serving some extra-regional agenda, have many a times, treated Nigeria with opprobrium. In this light, the study employs both primary and secondary sources of data and adopts both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis.

















The Nigerian foreign policy serves, both  as the bridge with which she connects to the global system and a tool with which she relates with other states within the international system in order to achieve her national interests. Her foreign policies are however underpinned by certain principles that serve as the pivot on which her relations with other countries turn. These principles are traceable to three significant speeches made by the country‘s first Prime Minister and head of government, late Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, immediately before, during and shortly after Nigeria‘s independence on October 1, 1960. These speeches incorporate his August 20, 1960 speech in the House of Representatives; his Independence Day speech on October 1, 1960; and the acceptance speech on October 8, 1960, which was made on the occasion of Nigeria‘s accession to the membership of the United Nations. Specifically on October 8, 1960, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa really enunciate the cardinal principles that he thought should underscore the country‘s foreign policy. The four

broad principles enunciated are:

First, it is the desire of Nigeria … to remain on friendly terms with all nations and to participate actively in the work of the United Nations Organization.

Secondly, Nigeria, a large and populous country of over thirty-five millions, has absolutely no territorial or expansionist intentions.

Thirdly, we shall not forget our old friends and we are proud to have been accepted as a member of the Commonwealth, but nevertheless we do not intend to align ourselves as a matter of routine with any of the power blocs. We are committed to the principles upon which the United Nations Organization is founded.

Fourthly, Nigeria hopes to work with other African states for the progress of Africa and to assist in bringing all African territories to a state of responsible independence (Balewa and Epelle, 1964, 62-63).



A careful read of these principles reveals the critical issues that Nigeria, as at then, regarded as seriously sensitive, both for its continued existence and to the nature and dynamics of African and international politics, and as such, held dearly to heart and took cognizance of in her dealings within the international system; as well as pursued while relating with African units, particularly her contiguous neighbours. Having critically studied the four pronouncements of the late Prime Minister therefore, Olusanya and Akindele (1986, 2-5) insist that the basic principles that can be gleaned, and which successive Nigerian regimes have adopted are:

Nonalignment with any of the then existing ideological and military power blocs, especially NATO and Warsaw Pact;

Respect for the legal equality, political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states;

Respect for the doctrine of non-interference in the domestic affairs of all other states; Seeking membership of both continental and global multilateral organizations for their functional importance to Nigeria; and

That Africa would be the cornerstone of the country‘s external relations.


One would have thought that these submissions of the first citizen of Nigeria would guarantee a safe and/or peaceful existence that is devoid of external intentions to interfere in the internal dynamics of the country until the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War; through which some extra-territorial powers decided to revenge the misdeeds of Nigeria to them. Indeed, Nigeria had had, because of the explosion of France‘s first atomic bomb in the Sahara desert, to severe bilateral relations with the French government in 1961; while she played significant role in championing African efforts against apartheid in South Africa. More so is the fact that she unleashed her venom-filled fangs against Portugal over the issue of White supremacists‘ rule in Africa. These actions thus created bitter enemies in these three countries, who attempted using the Civil War as a rare privilege at ensuring the splinterization of the country. As such, during the Civil War, while Lisbon served as the depot for arms collection for the Biafrans, France intended to run arms through the terrains of Nigeria‘s immediate neighbours to the insurgents.


In spite of this anti-Nigeria intentions, particularly from their former ‗director‘, the contiguous neighbours of Nigeria, perhaps because of the agreement at the Organization of

African Unity (OAU) level that all inherited borders should be maintained or because of their having factions that might attempt seceding if the Biafran insurgent should become a success, did not permit the intention of France. Subsequently therefore, the Yakubu Gowon regime decided for a policy of good neighbourliness, which was meant to afford the neighbours the opportunity of enjoying substantial perks from Nigeria. This thus confirms the fact that Africa forms the centerpiece of the Nigerian foreign policy. In pursuant of this policy –good neighbourliness- therefore, Nigeria has overtime contributed immensely towards the development of some, if not all, of its immediate neighbours. In this stead, Nigeria constructed roads and bridges for Benin. It provided interest-free loans and other economic assistance to needy states (Olaniyan, 1986, 127); engaged in joint venture partnership and investments with Benin, Togo and Guinea (ARB, 1976, July 15- August 14); as well as spent upwards of $12bn in her attempts to through the ECOWAS Monitoring Group, quash the domestic inferno that nearly burnt the two countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone to ashes; and presently, is being urged to assist Ebola-hit West African countries on the pretext that she cannot be said to be free and safe if the virus continues to ravage the sister nations (NAN, 2014).


Flowing from the foregoing is the view in existing literature that Nigeria should intensify on its good neighbourliness policy, and that the country should not relent in her aspirations of championing African courses. With regards to unfolding events within the international system, in which Nigeria has been treated with ignominy by her neighbours in the West African region; particularly her immediate neighbours, one realizes that Nigeria needs to review her relations with these neighbours. This is against the backdrop of the fact that they are mostly never on the same page with Nigeria when such collaboration is necessary. As such, while discussing the bid for the proposed permanent seats of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Alaba Ogunsanwo observed that countries to which we give assistance through Nigeria‘s Technical Aid Corps, do not feel obliged to vote for Nigeria or take our side on issues we consider important (Ogunsanwo, 2010, 67). Granted this background, this is study seeks to nuance the hidden transcripts that underscore the varying dimensions that Nigeria‘s relations with her neighbours has assumed.





Critically assessing Nigeria‘s relations overtime, it has been proven that Nigeria has played the role of a very good neighbour to the countries around her. This role has always been hinged on the notion of the historic mission and manifest destiny that the country is portrayed to have, a responsibility that both the leaders and citizens of the country alike have overtime believed she is bestowed with by providence. In view of this, existing literature have claimed that

Nigeria should always attempt to assist African states, particularly those within the West

African zone.  Overtime therefore, the country has dispensed of its responsibility as a leading African state on the basis of the perception that she is responsible for the placement of Africa within the international system. As such, she had in time past embarked on certain ventures, with some having illogical tainting, which if not because of her relevance to major powers, would have boomeranged on her and her citizens.













In this vein, this study, while not attempting to grapple issues with extant views, is intended to present a new vista of understanding Nigeria‘s relations with her neighbours; and in this stead, provides a well thought through approach that could be adopted in her relations with African states, particularly her proximate neighbours, even as she intensify in her intent of good neighbourliness.







The specific aims of this study are to:


  1. examines the trajectory of the relations between Nigeria and her neighbours;
  2. interrogate the hidden transcript underpinning their present relations;
  3. identify the complex security issues involved in the relations between Nigeria and her neighbours; and to
  4. examine how Nigeria is responding to the complexity of issues that her relations with Her contiguous neighbours engender.




  1. How can the relationship of Nigeria and its immediate neighbours be best described
  2. Is Nigeria perceived as a treat by its immediate neighbours?
  3. What are the roles of Nigeria in peace keeping operation in Africa?
  4. Is Nigeria playing leadership roles in Africa?
  5. Are there challenges and conflicts between Nigeria and its neighborhood?




H0:   Nigeria has good relations with its immediate neighbours

H1: Nigeria does not have good relations with its immediate neighbours


H0:  Nigeria is perceived as a treat by its immediate neighbours

H1: Nigeria is not perceived as a treat by its immediate neighbours


H0: Nigeria is not playing any role in peace keeping operation in Africa. H1: Nigeria is playing lots of roles in peace keeping operation in Africa.




This study therefore, will be useful to academics and possibly public policy makers. To scholars, it will add to their knowledge and welt their intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness. To public policy makers, the enduring continuities on the basis of lessons learnt and conclusions drawn could form the basis of a better formulation and implementation of Nigeria’s foreign policy.






This research work is on Nigeria and its immediate neigbours: old history vs new role. As enunciated by Holsti (1995:45,210,223), foreign policy covers not just a state’s relations with others but also the domestic environment from which the policy emanates at first instance. This creates a boundary problem for this study on perspectives on Nigeria’s foreign policy in the sense that, there are no clear distinctions between what is considered domestic and what is considered international, as the domestic policies or actions of a state could have far reaching implications internationally. Take for instance, the Babangida annulment of June 12 elections in 1992 in Nigeria became such an international issue that one may wonder whether there is any dividing line between domestic and international issues. Also, the terrain to be covered in this study and the character of the subject, foreign policy is such that different states and government attach importance to it. Also, the type of governmental system and level of development also colour its foreign policy. And to be able to adequately understand and evaluate the foreign policy of Nigeria, we also need full and detailed account of all the foreign policies of other states with whom Nigeria interacts. This, we know, is clearly impossible, in a work of this nature.





Foreign policy: Foreign policy is the category of actions a government takes which deals with defense, security, international political relations and international economic relations. It is the activity whereby a State deals with other States, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and certain individuals. Thus, Frankel (1978:26-27) defines foreign policy as: ―a range of actions, as well as a set of principles influencing these actions, taken with reference to external situations and factors… the summation of thoughts, actions and principles on external affairs taken by decision-makers with the intention of achieving long-range goals and short- term objectives‖.


Using the irreducible minimum and fundamental components, foreign policy consists of two elements: national objectives to be achieved and the means for achieving them. According to Pham (2007), the interaction between national goals and the resources for attaining them is the perennial subject of statecraft. In its ingredients the foreign policy of all nations, great and small, is the same. In short, the shaping of foreign policy is a dynamic process involving the interaction between a country‘s internal and external environments. The one propels the other.