25.11.2012

Role of Nigeria in Regional Security Policy

The emergence of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has raised many hopes and expectations. Its development is at the heart of integration processes throughout the ontinent and receives considerable international assistance. Much of the attention, however, is focused on the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.

What seems to be easily overlooked by observers of regional integration is the role of some key actors, whose engagement may serve as a mandatory condition for any integration project to materialise. In West Africa, one such actor is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose commitment to regional integration in the field of peace and security has been essential in such a sense that it would not have been possible without, even less against it. The sheer size of Nigeria’s population, hence market, the amount of natural resources as well as her considerable military capabilities bestow on her, as it were naturally, the role of a regional hegemon.

Then again, questions remain: How do her internal challenges affect Nigeria’s ability to project influence in the region and beyond? Does the nation itself have a consistent understanding of her national interest, converging to coherent foreign and security policy doctrine? What are neighbouring countries’ perceptions of and expectations towards this ‘African Giant’, and have these changed over time? One of the most intriguing questions this study is addressing is the following: Might the development of regional norms and the more comprehensive understanding of security, both of which may be seen as a means to ‘taming the giant’, actually serve Nigeria’s well-understood interests?

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub-Saharan Africa

P.O. Box 15 416
Point E, boulevard de l’Est villa n°30
Dakar - Fann

+221 33 859 20 02

info(at)fes-pscc.org
www.fes-pscc.org

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