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Product Category: Projects

Product Code: 00003252

No of Pages: 59

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Borders which are attributes of nation states became a phenomenon in Africa after the partition of Africa by the European imperial governments. The imperial powers gave little consideration to the far-reaching impact of their actions on the people of the continent. Thus arbitrary splitting the continent into spheres of economic influence for exploitation. Ethnic considerations were ignored just as physical features were split between nations such that after independence the problem of defunctionalising the borders still remains a hindrance to cooperation, rapid development and progress.


The boundary dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over Bakassi peninsular arose from their long, but ill-defined border which is of colonial origin. However, it has remained a source of conflict in the direct bilateral relations of these two countries since their independence. The work therefore takes a cursory look at this problem.










Title Page





Table of Contents



Borders and National Defence: An Analysis Purpose of Study

Significance of the Study


Synopsis of Chapters

Theoretical Framework

Literature Review

Notes and References




Nigeria's Border Problems:

The Local Settings Notes and References




Boundaries as a Source of Conflict

The Kano Meeting

The Maroua Meeting

The 1981 Border Clash

Nigeria's Response Pressures of Retaliation Notes and References




Treaty between the Kings and Chiefs of Old Calabar and Britain

The Anglo-German Agreements of 1885, 1886, 1890 and 1893  

The Anglo-German Agreement, March 11, 1913

Self-Determination of the Inhabitants of Bakassi Peninsula

The Ngoh/Coker Line, 1971

The Maroua Declaration, 1975

National Interests: Strategy

Security Implications of ICJ Ruling in 1994

Notes and References




Summary Conclusion












Borders and National Defence: An Analysis

The history of Nigeria may be described as one of a continuous encounter with border problems. We have heard varying manifestations of all the categories. The spatial dimensions are evidently the most dramatic. We have a total of five international boundaries measuring, all together, about 4,775 kilometers (besides) the internal boundaries that define the 36 constituent states (excluding the Federal Capital Territory) and the Local Government Areas.


The functional categories include those of the over 200 ethnic groups as well as the cleavages between religious camps and the fissions between social classes, to say nothing of the new phenomenon of women versus men folk.


Readers with just a nodding acquaintance with our (contemporary) history should have no difficulty in appreciating the roles which these different categories have played in the nation's growth and development, border incidents vis-a-vis proximate countries; the expulsion of illegal aliens and the closure of borders; the national question and the treatment of ethnic minorities (and) the clashes of Muslims and Christians. In these and other ways, the border poses challenges that severely put to test the managerial capability of those in charge of the machine of state, Colonel J.N. Shagaya, Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs.


The basic characteristic of the nation-state is centralized control of territory. Accordingly, its demand for boundaries and boundary maintenance is insatiable. Boundaries mark off the area of jurisdiction vis-a-vis other, especially limitrophe, state; they are also requited for the purpose of internal differentiation and delineation into the several levels and units of sub-national administration. The almost limitless extent to which the nation-state is bound up with the border phenomenon has been indicated by the former Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs, Colonel John N. Shagaya in the opening quotation to this chapter. Colonel Shagaya acknowledged the fact that "the history of Nigeria, like that of any other nation-state, may be described as one of a continuous encounter with border problematic etc.

There are in Nigeria ample manifestations of both the spatial and functional categories of the border problems. With regards to the spatial category and, for the nation-state based on centralized control of territory, the more basic, the enumeration covers not only the international boundary system with a total length of about 5000 kilometers drawn through extremely diverse geographical and cultural zones: of these, approximately 1,000 are with Benin Republic in the west, close to 1,500 with Niger in the north, about 75 with the Chad Republic in the north-east, almost 1,700 with Cameroon in the east, and nearly 700 along the Atlantic seaboard. There are as well the internal boundaries, delineating the areas of jurisdiction of the 36, constituent states (excluding the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja) and the Local

Government Areas.


Managers of the Nigerian state machine have also had to grapple with several cases of functional boundaries such as those of the over 200 ethnic groups, a good number of them - including major ones like the Hausa, the Yoruba, the Kanuri and the Efik - spilling across the international boundaries; the cleavages between religious camps, especially those between Christians and Muslims; and the fissions between and among social classes. This perspective easily shows that the boundary question is, in essence, not different from the national question. The extent of the relevance of this question to defence and security concerns is indicated in the widely accepted functional definition of territory as "a defended area". The validity of this definition is proved by the data on international relations discussed below. The position in Nigeria is clearly stated in Section 197 (1) of 1979 Constitution, as suspended and amended by Decrees Nos. 1 of 1984 and 17 of 1985 respectively, which provided for the establishment, equipping and maintenance of an army, a navy, an air-force and such other branches of the armed forces as may be considered necessary in the more exact words of an expert, for the purpose of (a) defending Nigeria from external aggression; (5) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air; (c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so; (d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed (such 8S undertaking relief or welfare duties in such cases as national disaster, and contributing to the maintenance of peace in part of the world).

The actual performance of these roles is easily illustrated by the observable use from time to time of the armed forces personnel and equipment, especially those of the Nigerian army, to deal with problems arising from the functions and malfunctions of the various boundaries. Such uses become necessary when the impacts threaten the nations territorial integrity, the watchword of our defence policy. Witness, for example, the border­ enforcement duties performed by the armed forces during emergencies such as have frequently warranted the official closure of the international boundaries; border patrol duties in peacetime aimed at beefing up the efforts of specialized state apparatuses such as the Departments of Customs and Immigration Services; the prosecution of the Civil War of 1967-70 “to keep Nigeria one”; the exchange of artillery fire with Chadian troops in 7983 to ward off a perceived threat, if not actual violation of the nation's border in the Lake Chad; the deployment of soldiers to ensure peace on such violently disputed interstate boundaries as those between the Cross River and each of Anambra and Into states as well as to bring under control the well-known violent outbursts between Muslim factions with particular reference to the activities of the notorious Maitatsine groups, as well as between Muslims and Christians such as occurred in Kaduna state in March 1987; the prominent participation of the UN peace-keeping activities since 1960 and the more recently initiated joint border patrol, in collaboration with Cameroonian armed forces, to keep the peace in disputed sections of the vexatious border between both countries.

But critical as the border perspective is to an understanding of our history and contemporary problems, including defence concerns, its systematic application as a framework of analysis still awaits necessary popularization. There are no special border research collections and, except for Dupe Irele's praiseworthy though grossly inadequate effort on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, there are no specialized bibliographies’ In spite of the highly reputed works by Nigerian historians on the national and regional African history, identifiable gaps in knowledge are underscored by a conspicuous absence of Black Africa's leading nation's territorial history. Only two published works by Prescott and Adejayi J.C., both geographers, so far touch directly on the issue of internal hour a 25. Nigeria's international boundaries rank among the best researched of any single African state, having been continuously subjected, since their probation, to scholarly investigations: a successive generation of indigenous and, most especially, foreign scholars drawn variously from the well-established, if not .prestigious, ate centric sub-disciplines of political geography, diplomatic history, international law and international politics. However, there is a conspicuous lack of concern for necessary theoretical framework based on the operationalization of the border as a basic concept.


Purpose of Study

·             To examine the issue of cross border cooperation in Nigeria Cameroon relation.

·             To illustrate how the Bakassi Issue is not only that of economy but also security.

·             To examine the outcome of the Bakassi conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.


Significance of the Study

The study is significant in the sense that it will proffer ways and means of dealing with border conflicts. It will also enable policy makers to learn from past mistakes to be able to better handle situation of like-manner in the future. Furthermore it will be a new addition to the body of knowledge available in the area.



The study is aimed at analysis of the Bakassi Peninsular conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon and new frontiers and borders as concepts of separation and co-operation. In this study, data collection will be a hybrid of documentary analysis. The primary data will be collected through unstructured interviews from diplomats, members of the boundary commission and academics. Secondary data will be sourced from library, journals published and unpublished materials and the internet. Data analysis technique will be qualitative with comparison of data obtained from various services in order to establish their credibility. Findings will be presented in a descriptive form.


Synopsis Chapters

Chapter one: Introduction. This chapter introduces the work by discussing the background to the study, the objective of study, statement of the problem, theoretical framework, and significance of the study. It also highlights methodology for the study.


Chapter two: examines the definition of basic concepts and Nigeria's border problems with the local setting.


Chapter three: examines the evolution of Nigeria's boundary policy as well as looking at boundaries as a source of conflict.


Chapter four: delves into the issue of Nigeria and Cameroon over the disputed Bakassi peninsular. The chapter sees the dispute as arising from their long, but ill-defined border which is of colonial origin.


Chapter five focuses on the way forward based on findings. To this end, the chapter recommends appropriate measures that could be employed to mitigate the dispute.



Theoretical Framework

In international relations, theory is used as an intellectual tool to orient and organize knowledge and to guide the formulation of priorities in the design of research. Different theories could be used in international relations to explain events, issues or conflicts. In this boundary conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria, game theory of Anatol Rapport will be more applicable. Politics as well as conflicts in international relations is no less than a game. It is a game in the sense that the inter-state actions and the actors involved second-guess the action of the other in advance. It is a decision-making process in which costly mistakes can even lead to war.


According to Rapport Anatol, game theory deals with the issues in conflict situations. It involves the study of cooperation and 'competition, without regard to the particular entities involved, and issue of rationality associated with such phenomena. The intellect has to be put in use to bear on a science of human conflict. To analyses a conflict there are relative values that need to be taken into consideration.


With game theory, the rational players discover the optimum strategy that could be pursued. It portrays the strategy players actually choose in specific situations. It is all about a method of studying decision making in conflict situation. Game theory differentiates the outcome of a game, which is either loss or gain. The winner wins all and the looser loses all. The basic idea of game theory could be zero-sum games, which the theory solves, or non-zero-sum games, which have no general solution. With the non-zero-sum game, the two parties may decide to co-operate with each other by communication through the exchange of information concerning choices to be made. Of particular substantive interest is the prisoner's dilemma. These dilemmas are of collective action, which characterize many social, economic and political problems. This occurs when communication ceased to exist between the two parties concerned.


In determining the sovereign owner of the Bakassi peninsula, facts and ideals from both Cameroon and Nigeria concerning the area in dispute has to be taken into consideration. These facts are the treaties that were signed before and after independence, the opinion of the indigenes in the area and proper demarcation of the territory.


Literature Review

Many scholars and writers have expressed their opinion on the Bakassi peninsula boundary conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon. Some scholars have tried to uncover the secrets of the treaties signed by the imperial masters that colonized these two countries as well as the recent treaties after independence. Others have endeavored to uncover why there have not been any occurrence of war between these two countries despite all the hostilities encountered by the indigenes of Bakassi peninsula.


Macebuh Skinley in his “public opinion on the Nigeria/ Cameroon crisis” elaborated on how Nigerians were surprised why their country had not gone to war with Cameroon and why the country refrained from initiating hostilities against Cameroon. According to him, the public could not see any reason why the Shagari administration rejected military action against Cameroon when Cameroonian gendarmes gunned down five Nigerian soldiers on routine border patrol duty. The conclusion that can be reached, however, is that decision was taken in spite of and not in accordance with the Federal Government perception of the public opinion. This shows the way the foreign policy of Nigeria is being formulated and executed with disregard and neglect of public opinion.


Olakan Rasheed Sodeinde in “Boundary Conflict Resolution through the Spatial Analysis of Social, Commercial and Cultural Interaction of People Living along Boundary Area” wrote on the various visible means of identifying a boundary and how to resolve boundary conflicts. According to him, problems associated with boundary conflicts arising from visible natural or man-made features could be avoided by using the area of intersection as the guidance for routine boundary lines.


Oscar Oyene B. Ede In “The Nigeria-Cameroon Boundary Diplomatic Intrigues and Crisis” gave some geneses of the problem by analyzing the era of the colonial conquest. He explained the origin of the Bakassi problem attributing it to the failure of the colonial masters, Britain and Germany during the scramble and partition which ended up creating boundaries not properly demarcated. These boundaries particularly that in the southern part were ill-defined.


Atilade Atoyebi in "Nigeria's Border with Cameroon" narrates that both countries have never disguised the fact that a border dispute exists between them. He also explained the origin of the dispute which according to him dates back to the United Nations plebiscite over the future of the former Northern and Southern Cameroon, the irresponsibility of the British and German government to properly demarcate boundaries between their various administered areas. He concluded by narrating the series of meetings between the two heads of states and at resolving their boundary problems and their efforts to uphold the aims and objectives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).


Ate Bassey E. In "Nigeria-Cameroon Boundary Disputes: The Legal Political Position, particularly as it affects the maritime section" attributes the dispute to ill-defined border of colonial origin.


Bola A. Akinterinwa in "In The Event of Nigeria-Cameroon War", opposed Professor Ngole by saying that "Cameroon does not have the territorial size, demography, resources, etc, of Nigeria. Even though all the inhabitants of Nigeria may not support going to war with Cameroon, at any given point in time, the truth remains that more than 16 million of them have always believed that Cameroon has always been a bad neighbour".

That means in the event of any Nigeria-Cameroon war, Cameroon will suffer more than Nigeria will do, because the strength and goodwill of their 16 million people in relation to that of more than 100 million people of Nigeria cannot be compared.


William Etim Bassey "Before the Final Ruling" On Akinterinwa's "In the Event of a Cameroon War" was thinking along side with Akinterinwa. He critically analyzed the fact that the ICJ might not present the best mechanism in resolving the Bakassi peninsula dispute since the OAU which they both belong also lack the capacity and character to mediate and resolve this conflict. Thus enforcing the ICJ's ruling will prove a sticky point. For basically, international law which is normative is facilitated by the good will of states, who are signatory to the various treaties and contentions which empowers and enables its article. All these books have been written to demo state which country has the sovereign right over the peninsula.

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