Nigeria’s Peace Keeping Role in Darfur

Arinze Ngwube

Abstract


Foreign policy of any nation serves as a mirror of its domestic reality. It begins with identification and articulation of national interests. It is very important to assert that whatever this nation’s interest represents, serves the principal consideration in the formulation and execution of national policies both at domestic and international levels. One of the cardinal points of Nigerian foreign policy is the maintenance of peace and security in Africa .This has enabled her to play an active role in peacemaking and peace keeping in the continent since independence. Nigeria has participated in many peacekeeping and related missions globally. In line with her foreign policy, Darfur is not an exception. Nigeria has not only been a key actor in political efforts to mediate in the Darfur Crisis, but in addition has provided a bulk of her troops to the African-Union-United Nations hybrid peace keeping mission in Darfur.

The conflict in Darfur constituted a threat to Nigeria’s security largely because of Darfuri links to neighbouring states which are close to Nigeria. The possibility of the flow of refugees from the conflict area into Nigeria could be a problem. The implication on the security and welfare of Nigerians is an issue that cannot be ignored. The maintenance of peace and security, especially on the continent of Africa, is an abiding interest which Nigeria is committed towards. All the above justify Nigerian involvement in resolving the Darfur crisis. Depending on the precise terms of mandate a key role for peacekeepers is to patrol the grey area zone during the climax of the conflict. But so far the evidence suggests that Nigerian contingent have not been able to effectively handle this aspect. The absence of a national policy on peacekeeping has made it difficult to define the nation’s participation with clear political and economic objectives and without an exit option. In view of the issues raised above, it has become necessary to review Nigerian peacekeeping efforts so far, in order to ascertain the benefits and loss. There is no doubt that the Nigerian contingents faced serious challenges in the form of finance, equipment, and mandate which all affected her operation in Darfur. This paper will therefore look into these challenges and the Nigerian contingent’s achievement against the backdrop. It will draw the attention of the leadership to the lapse and suggest improvements for the future.

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