Foreign relations of Nigeria

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Nigeria

Since independence, with Jaja Wachuku as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, later called External Affairs, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterised by a focus on Africa as a regional power and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; capability to exercise hegemonic influence in the region: peaceful settlement of disputes; non-alignment and non-intentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations.

Nigeria and the liberation of Africa[edit]

Upon gaining independence, Nigeria quickly committed itself to opposing white minority governments. Nigeria backed the African National Congress (ANC) by taking a committed tough line with regard to the South African government and their military actions in southern Africa. Nigeria was also a founding member of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU, now the African Union), and has tremendous influence in West Africa and Africa on the whole. Nigeria has additionally founded regional cooperative efforts in West Africa, functioning as standard-bearer for ECOWAS and ECOMOG, economic and military organisations, respectively.

Similarly, when civil war broke out in Angola after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, Nigeria mobilised its diplomatic influence in Africa in support of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). That support helped tip the balance in their favour, which led to OAU recognition of the MPLA over the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.

Nigeria extended diplomatic support to another Marxist cause, Sam Nujoma's Southwest Africa People's Organization in Namibia, to stall the apartheid South African-installed government there. In 1977, the new General Olusegun Obasanjo's military regime donated $20 million to the Zimbabwean movement against the government of Rhodesia. Nigeria also sent military equipment to Mozambique to help the newly independent country suppress the South African-backed Mozambican National Resistance guerrillas. Although officially denied by the Nigerian government, Nigeria is known to have also provided secret military training at the Kaduna first mechanised army division and provided other material support to Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe's guerrilla forces during the Rhodesian Bush War (Renamed Zimbabwe in 1979) against the white minority rule of Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith, which was backed by the government of South Africa.

Although her economy and technology could not have supported it, Nigeria announced to a bewildered international community that she was launching a nuclear programme of "unlimited scope" of her own. To demonstrate her seriousness against multi-national companies in Nigeria that violated the economic/trade embargo on the South African regime, the local operations of Barclays Bank was nationalised after that bank ignored the strong protests by Nigeria urging it not to buy the South African government bond.

Nigeria also nationalised the British Petroleum (BP) for supplying oil to South Africa. In 1982, the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government urged the visiting Pontiff Pope John Paul II to grant audience to the leaders of Southern Africa guerrilla organisations Oliver Tambo of the ANC and Sam Nujoma of SWAPO. In December 1983, the new Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime announced that Nigeria could no longer afford an activist anti-apartheid role in Africa.

Nigeria and West Africa[edit]

In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonise trade and investment practices for its 16 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.

Nigeria has played a central role in the ECOWAS efforts to end the civil war in Liberia and contributed the bulk of the ECOWAS peacekeeping forces sent there in 1990. Nigeria also has provided the bulk of troops for ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone.

Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbours.

Nigeria and International Organisations[edit]

Nigeria is a member of the following organizations:

The Babangida regime joined the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC, now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), though President Obasanjo has indicated he might reconsider Nigeria's membership.comments are being made for Nigeria to establish more bilateral relations

Africa[edit]

Angola[edit]

Angolan-Nigerian relations are primarily based on their roles as oil exporting nations. Both are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the African Union and other multilateral organizations.

Cameroon[edit]

A long-standing border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula was resolved by a 2002 decision by the International Court of Justice which granted Cameroon ownership of the region and the 2006 signing of the Greentree Agreement which led to the withdrawal of Nigerian troops from Bakassi in 2008 and complete administrative control being taken over by Cameroon in August 2013.[1] Nigeria released about 150 Cameroonian prisoners of war in late 1998.

Chad[edit]

Nigeria's 1983 economic austerity campaign produced strains with neighbouring states, including Chad. Nigeria expelled several hundred thousand foreign workers, mostly from its oil industry, which faced drastic cuts as a result of declining world oil prices. At least 30,000 of those expelled were Chadians. Despite these strains, however, Nigerians had assisted in the halting process of achieving stability in Chad, and both nations reaffirmed their intention to maintain close ties.

Ghana[edit]

Ghana Nigerian relations have been both bitter and sweet. In 1969 numerous Nigerians were deported from Ghana. Relations in the 70's were good. Ghana-Nigeria relations began on a sour note in the early period of PNDC rule. Tension rose immediately after the PNDC deposed Limann in 1981. In protest, Nigeria refused to continue much-needed oil supplies to Ghana. At the time, Ghana owed Nigeria about US$150 million for crude oil supplies and depended on Nigeria for about 90 percent of its petroleum needs. Nigeria's expulsion of more than 1 million Ghanaian immigrants in early 1983, when Ghana was facing severe drought and economic problems, and of another 300,000 in early 1985 on short notice, further strained relations between the two countries.[2]

In April 1988, a joint commission for cooperation was established between Ghana and Nigeria. A bloodless coup in August 1985 had brought Major General Ibrahim Babangida to power in Nigeria, and Rawlings took advantage of the change of administration to pay an official visit. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues focusing on peace and prosperity within West Africa, bilateral trade, and the transition to democracy in both countries. In early January 1989, Babangida reciprocated with an official visit to Ghana, which the PNDC hailed as a watershed in Ghana-Nigeria relations.[2]

Subsequent setbacks that Babangida initiated in the democratic transition process in Nigeria clearly disappointed Accra. Nonetheless, the political crisis that followed Babangida's annulment of the results of the June 1993 Nigerian presidential election and Babangida's resignation from the army and presidency two months later did not significantly alter the existing close relations between Ghana and Nigeria, two of the most important members of ECOWAS and the Commonwealth of Nations. After the takeover in November 1993 by General Sani Abacha as the new Nigerian head of state, Ghana and Nigeria continued to consult on economic, political, and security issues affecting the two countries and West Africa as a whole. Between early August 1994 when Rawlings became ECOWAS chairman and the end of the following October, the Ghanaian president visited Nigeria three times to discuss the peace process in Liberia and measures to restore democracy in that country.[2]

However, Nigeria and Ghana have a close relationship, and they collaborate on various issues.

Libya[edit]

Nigeria recalled its ambassador, Isa Aliyu Mohammed, to Libya on 18 March 2010.[3] The recall was in responses to a suggestion by Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, that Nigeria should separate into a Muslim northern state and a Christian southern state. [4] Gaddaffi had made the suggestion in light of recent violence between the rival religions in Nigeria which had resulted in hundreds of deaths.[4] In addition Gaddaffi had praised the Partition of India, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, as the kind of model that Nigeria should follow.[4]

The Nigerian foreign ministry stated that it was recalling Mohammed for "urgent negotiations" due to the "irresponsible utterances of Colonel Gaddafi".[4] The Nigerian National Assembly has requested that the government ask the United Nations to prohibit Gaddaffi from calling for the division of Nigeria.[3] The National Assembly also passed a motion urging the government to order an African Union investigation into whether Libya was attempting to destabilise the country through "infiltrators".[5]

Niger[edit]

Nigeria maintains close relations with the Republic of Niger, in part because both nations share a large Hausa minority on each side of their 1500 km border. Hausa language and cultural ties are strong, but there is little interest in a pan-Hausa state.[6] The two nations formed the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation (NNJC), established in March, 1971 with its Permanent Secretariat in Niamey, Niger.[7]

Asia[edit]

Bangladesh[edit]

Nigeria and Bangladesh established diplomatic relations in 1972, following the Bangladeshi war of independence from Pakistan. Both nations are members of the OIC and the Developing 8 Countries, and are identified as Next Eleven economies. Nigeria has a high commission in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

India[edit]

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have considerably expanded in recent years with both nations building strategic and commercial ties. Nigeria supplies 20% of India's crude oil needs and is India's largest trading partner in Africa.

Israel[edit]

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1960. Between 1973 and 1992, diplomatic relations were severed. Since September 1992, bilateral relations are better. Since April 1993, Israel has an embassy in Abuja and Nigeria has an embassy in Tel Aviv.[8][9]

Pakistan[edit]

Defence attachés from Pakistan and Russia visit the communications tent at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Abuja, Nigeria, on July 21, 2008, during Africa Endeavour 2008.

Pakistan has a High Commission in Abuja and Nigeria has an embassy in Islamabad, as well as a Consulate-General in Karachi. The two states have maintained a close relationship, a relationship which is described by the Nigerian Defence Minister as "friendly" and like a "family tie"[10]

People's Republic of China[edit]

Nigeria and the People's Republic of China established formal diplomatic relations on February 10, 1971.[11][12] Relations between the two nations grew closer as a result of the international isolation and Western condemnation of Nigeria's military regimes (1970s-1998). Nigeria has since become an important source of oil and petroleum for China's rapidly growing economy and Nigeria is looking to China for help in achieving high economic growth; China has provided extensive economic, military and political support.[13][14] In 2004 and again in 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao made state visits to Nigeria and addressed a joint session of the National Assembly of Nigeria. Both nations signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing a strategic partnership.[15] China has supported Nigeria's bid for a seat in the U.N. Security Council.[11]

Turkey[edit]

Nigeria has an embassy in Ankara. Turkey has an embassy in Abuja.[16] Both countries are full members of the D–8.

Rest of world[edit]

Barbados[edit]

  • Formal relations between Nigeria and Barbados started in 1970-04-24.[17]
  • Nigeria is accredited to Barbados from its Embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago).
  • Currently the Barbadian Government does not have foreign accreditation for Nigeria, however the Nigerian Government has said that it was highly desirous of Barbados establishing an embassy directly to Nigeria.[18]

In 2006 the Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel of the Nigerian state of Ogun announced that Barbadians would be given free land if they wished to move to Nigeria.[19] Nigeria has pushed for more investment from Barbadian companies and investors and the in 2008 for the establishment of direct flights between both nations.[20][21]

Brazil[edit]

Bilateral relations between Nigeria and Brazil focus primarily upon trade and culture, the largest country in Latin America by size, and the largest country in Africa by population are remotely bordered across from one another by the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil and Nigeria for centuries, have enjoyed a warmly friendly, and strong relationship on the bases of culture (seeing as many Afro-Brazilians trace their ancestry to Nigeria,) and commercial trade.

Canada[edit]

Greece[edit]

Nigeria has an embassy in Athens.[24] Greece established a diplomatic mission in Nigeria in 1970, and today has an embassy in Abuja and a consulate in Lagos. Trade between the two countries is imbalanced, with imports from Greece to Nigeria exceeding exports. Greek-owned tankers have an important role in shipping Nigerian oil and natural gas, its main exports. Recently a Greek tanker was involved a dispute over crude oil smuggling.[25] There is a small Greek business community in Lagos.[26]

Russia[edit]

Russia has an embassy in Lagos and a representative office in Abuja, and Nigeria has an embassy in Moscow.

United Kingdom[edit]

Nigeria, formerly a colony, gained independence from Britain in 1960. Since the independence, Nigeria has maintained favourable relations with the UK.[27]

United States[edit]

After the June 12, 1993, Nigerian presidential election was annulled, and in light of human rights abuses and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the United States imposed numerous sanctions on Nigeria. These sanctions included the imposition of Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry into the United States of senior government officials and others who formulated, implemented, or benefited from policies impeding Nigeria's transition to democracy; suspension of all military assistance; and a ban on the sale and repair of military goods and refinery services to Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador was recalled for consultations for four months after the execution of the Ogoni Nine on November 10, 1995.

After a period of increasingly strained relations, the death of General Abacha in June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new phase of improved bilateral relations. As the transition to democracy progressed, the removal of visa restrictions, increased high-level visits of U.S. officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria, as a key partner in the region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the democratically elected Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has continued to improve, and cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping, has been good.

The government has lent strong diplomatic support to the U.S. Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has both condemned the terrorist attacks as well as supported military action against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Nigeria also has played a leading role in forging an anti-terrorism consensus among states in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As a member of the International Criminal Court Nigeria signed a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US military (as covered under Article 98). A comprehensive passage is updated.

International disputes[edit]

Delimitation of international boundaries in the vicinity of Lake Chad, the lack of which led to border incidents in the past, has been completed and awaits ratification by Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria; dispute with Cameroon over land and maritime boundaries around the Bakasi Peninsula is currently before the ICJ; maritime boundary dispute with Equatorial Guinea because of disputed jurisdiction over oil-rich areas in the Gulf of Guinea.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Library of Congress, Cameroon; Nigeria: Bakassi Peninsula Transition Completed, Aug 13 2013, http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205403677_text
  2. ^ a b c Owusu, Maxwell. "Nigeria". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.[1]
  3. ^ a b "Nigeria reacts over Ghaddafi's outbursts, recalls Ambassador to Libya". Xinhua. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Nigeria recalls Libya ambassador in Gaddafi row". BBC News. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Gaddafi comment sparks diplomatic row with Nigeria". Reuters. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  6. ^ William F. S. Miles. Development, not division: local versus external perceptions of the Niger-Nigeria boundary. The Journal of Modern African Studies (2005), 43:2:297-320
  7. ^ INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT IN SHARED CATCHMENTS BETWEEN NIGERIA AND NIGER EGEF Council Documents, MFA Regional Annex, 2006.
  8. ^ Israeli embassy in Abuja
  9. ^ Nigerian embassy in Tel Aviv
  10. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/200802040989.html
  11. ^ a b "China launches satellite for Nigeria". OnlineNigeria.com. 2004-10-28. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  12. ^ "Chinese, Nigerian presidents agree to promote strategic partnership". NEWSGD.com. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Nigeria gets $1bn China rail loan". BBC News. 2006-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  14. ^ "China and Nigeria agree oil deal". BBC News. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  15. ^ Taylor, Ian (May 2007). "Sino-Nigerian Relations: FTZs, Textiles and Oil". China Brief - Jamestown Foundation 7 (11). Retrieved 2008-06-22. [dead link]
  16. ^ Turkish embassy in Abuja
  17. ^ LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH WHICH BARBADOS HAS ESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS foreign.gov.bb Retrieved on 4-22-09
  18. ^ "Closer ties with Nigeria". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08. [dead link]
  19. ^ Moore, Tracy (2006-09-15). "Free land for Bajans". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  20. ^ "Nigeria wants direct flights to Barbados". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Nigerian cooperation". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08. [dead link]
  22. ^ Canadian high commission in Abuja
  23. ^ Nigerian high commission in Ottawa
  24. ^ "Nigerian Missions Overseas". Minstry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria. Retrieved 2009-04-22. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Row over tanker held in Nigeria". BBC News. 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  26. ^ "Nigeria". Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  27. ^ Nigeria: Facts and figures