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     Nigeria’s foreign policy towards her neighbors (the states of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin and Togo) has, since independence, been guided by and large by the following four principles:

i) The sovereign equality of all African states;

ii) Respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of every African state;

iii) Non-interference in the internal affairs of other African states; and

iv) A commitment to functional co-operation as a means of promoting African unity.

     A further motivation is the perception that these states present no threat to Nigeria, but that, if Nigeria should threaten, them, they might be driven into the arms of a powerful extra-African, state; such a development, it is felt in Lagos, could threaten Nigerian security. This perception has been heightened by Nigeria’s experiences during the Civil War of 1966-1970. Following the crash of an aircraft carrying arms to Biafra in the Cameroons in 1966, Nigeria advised its neighbors not to support Biafran secession, and the advice was taken. This is seen in Lagos as one of the major reasons for the failure of Biafra’s attempt at secession. As a result, Nigeria has come to see its neighbors as its special ‘area of concentration’ of diplomacy in the belief that Nigeria’s security is tied to that of its neighbors.

Consequently Nigeria has developed an interest in the internal affairs of these states, in order to ensure that friendly. Governments are not replaced by hostile ones. It has also attempted to strengthen, its political and diplomatic links with its close neighbors, and has put-a greater stress on economic co-operation than previously. For example, although-Nigeria had joined the Lake Chad Basin Commission by 1964, nothing came of it until a. summit meeting – the Commission’s first – was held, at Nigeria’s initiative, in. July 1972 at Fort Lamy, In fact, in August 1970, Dr. Arikpo announced that it was Nigerian policy to establish a ‘sub-regional’ economic community, comprising Nigeria and its immediate neighbors, in order to promote their economic development-and reduce, their, financial dependence on any of the great powers. To achieve this, Nigeria is engaging in joint agricultural and industrial ventures with its neighbors, even when this requires some sacrifices on her part.

Nigeria’s foreign policy towards the whole of Africa is based on the same four principles that govern its relations with its neighbors. However, because of the existence of white minority regimes in the south of the continent, a fifth principle has been added, i.e. the total eradication of racialism and colonialism from the continent.

Since independence Nigeria has, because of its size, natural resources and manpower, seen itself as a – if not the – potential leader in Africa. However, it is only since 1970 that the country has actively begun to play a leadership role on the continent.

Nigerian self-perception of a leadership role in Africa is clearly demonstrated by the dispute late last year concerning which two African states should fill the two vacancies on the UN Security Council. The OAU and the African group at the UN wanted the seats to go to Gabon and Niger. Gabon was elected unopposed but Nigeria contested Niger for the remaining seat and refused to withdraw its candidacy in favor of the latter, the Nigerians believing (with good reason) that they would be able to represent Africa more effectively in the Security Council than their powerless and uninfluential neighbor. Finally, on the fifth and unrestricted ballot, Nigeria defeated Niger by 96 votes to 27.


Nigeria seeks to increase economic co-operation throughout Africa in the belief that Africa will only be truly free when it adds economic independence to its political freedom. In this regard Nigeria campaigned against Africans joining the EEC in another Yaoundé-type agreement, and urged African states not to engage in bilateral contacts with the EEC, but rather to negotiate collectively in order to increase their bargaining power-indeed, Nigeria extended this diplomatic campaign to include the Caribbean and Pacific states which were also involved in the negotiations leading up to the Lome Convention. This was the first time that Nigeria had attempted to influence the external economic policies of other states, and it was successful.

1.3     RESEARCH QUESTION         

1.     What is the effect of Nigerian foreign policies alongside the Economic Community of West African states?

2.     Is there any challenge the Nigerian foreign policies inclusive the ECOWAS is facing?

3.     How the Nigerian foreign policies be can improved viz-a-viz the Economic Community of West African States?


The aim of this paper is to provide an outline of the foreign policy of black Africa’s most populous, most powerful and most influential state; Nigeria. The objectives are:

1.     To examine the effect of Nigerian foreign policies alongside the Economic Community of West African states.

2.     To ascertain if there is any challenge the Nigerian foreign policies inclusive the ECOWAS is facing.

3.     To study if the Nigerian foreign policies be improved viz-a-viz the Economic Community of West African States.


The idea of the research work is to examine about Nigerian foreign policies vis-à-vis the Economic Community of West African State since independence.

This project covers a range of subject peculiar to foreign policies in Nigeria. It covers the historical evolution of political and economic administration as a precept of a democratic process in Nigeria vis-à-vis the Economic Community of West African States. It also covers the procedural problems in the Nigerian administration due to foreign policies. These are the aspects to be covered in this project.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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