Merger Politics of Nigeria and Surge of Sectarian Violence

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The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. Conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolution of conflict in the modern world. For a century and a half after the emergence of the modern international system with the Peace of Westphalia, the conflicts of the Western world were largely among princes-emperors, absolute monarchs and constitutional monarchs attempting to expand their bureaucracies, their armies, their mercantilist economic strength and, most important, the territory they ruled.

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In the process they created nation states, and beginning with the French Revolution the principal lines of conflict were between nations rather than princes. In , as R. Palmer put it, "The wars of kings were over;. This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Nigerian forces accused of abuses in conflict against separatists

In-depth analysis delivered weekly - Subscribe to our newsletter, featuring our editors' top picks from the past week. Sign in Subscribe. Subscribe Login Sign up. Foreign Policy. Login Sign up. Trending U. The situation is uncertain, with Nigeria,.. Unless present army leaders and contending tribal elements soon reach agreement on a new basis for the association and take some effective measures to halt a seriously deteriorating security situation, there will be increasing internal turmoil, possibly including civil war.

On 29 May , Lt. Emeka Ojukwu , the military governor of the eastern region who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the Republic of Biafra on 30 May Following the civil war, the country turned to the task of economic development. The U.

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The Nigerian Civil War ended with relatively little rancour. The Igbos were accepted as fellow citizens in many parts of Nigeria, but not in some areas of former Biafra where they were once dominant. Iboland is an overpopulated, economically depressed area where massive unemployment is likely to continue for many years. Nigeria is still very much a tribal society General Yakubu Gowon , head of the Federal Military Government FMG is the accepted national leader and his popularity has grown since the end of the war.

The FMG is neither very efficient nor dynamic, but the recent announcement that it intends to retain power for six more years has generated little opposition so far. The Nigerian Army , vastly expanded during the war, is both the main support to the FMG and the chief threat to it. The troops are poorly trained and disciplined and some of the officers are turning to conspiracies and plotting. We think Gowon will have great difficulty in staying in office through the period which he said is necessary before the turnover of power to civilians.

His sudden removal would dim the prospects for Nigerian stability. The Soviet Union benefits from Nigerian appreciation of its help during the war, but is not trying for control. Nigerian relations with the US, cool during the war, are improving, but France may be seen as the future patron. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of On July 29, , Gen. Murtala Mohammed and a group of officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing Gen. Yakubu Gowon of corruption and delaying the promised return to civilian rule.

General Mohammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by 1 October He was assassinated on 13 February in an abortive coup and his chief of staff Lt. Olusegun Obasanjo became head of state. A constituent assembly was elected in to draft a new constitution, which was published on 21 September , when the ban on political activity was lifted. During the s prior to independence, oil was discovered off the coast of Nigeria. Almost immediately, the revenues from oil began to make Nigeria a wealthy nation.

In August , Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance, leading to legal battles over the results. On December 31, , the military overthrew the Second Republic. Babangida IBB cited the misuse of power, violations of human rights by key officers of the SMC, and the government's failure to deal with the country's deepening economic crisis as justifications for the takeover.

During his first days in office, President Babangida moved to restore freedom of the press and to release political detainees being held without charge. As part of a month economic emergency plan, he announced pay cuts for the military, police, civil servants and the private sector. President Babangida demonstrated his intent to encourage public participation in decision making by opening a national debate on proposed economic reform and recovery measures.

The public response convinced Babangida of intense opposition to an economic recession. Head of State Babangida promised to return the country to civilian rule by which was later extended until January In early a constituent assembly completed a constitution and in the spring of political activity was again permitted. In April mid-level officers attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow the government and 69 accused plotters were executed after secret trials before military tribunals.

In December the first stage of partisan elections was held at the local government level. Despite the low turnout, there was no violence and both parties demonstrated strength in all regions of the country, with the SDP winning control of a majority of local government councils.

The Clash of Civilizations? | Foreign Affairs

In December state legislative elections were held and Babangida decreed that previously banned politicians could contest in primaries scheduled for August. These were cancelled due to fraud and subsequent primaries scheduled for September also were cancelled.

All announced candidates were disqualified from standing for president once a new election format was selected. The presidential election was finally held on 12 June , with the inauguration of the new president scheduled to take place 27 August , the eighth anniversary of President Babangida's coming to power. In the historic 12 June presidential elections, which most observers deemed to be Nigeria's fairest, early returns indicated that wealthy Yoruba businessman M.

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Abiola won a decisive victory. However, on 23 June, Babangida, using several pending lawsuits as a pretence, annulled the election, throwing Nigeria into turmoil. More than were killed in riots before Babangida agreed to hand power to an interim government on 27 August He later attempted to renege this decision, but without popular and military support, he was forced to hand over to Ernest Shonekan , a prominent nonpartisan businessman.

Shonekan was to rule until elections scheduled for February Although he had led Babangida's Transitional Council since , Shonekan was unable to reverse Nigeria's economic problems or to defuse lingering political tension. With the country sliding into chaos Defense Minister Sani Abacha assumed power and forced Shonekan's resignation on 17 November Abacha dissolved all democratic institutions and replaced elected governors with military officers.

Although promising restoration of civilian rule he refused to announce a transitional timetable until Following the annulment of the June 12 election, the United States and others imposed sanctions on Nigeria including travel restrictions on government officials and suspension of arms sales and military assistance. Additional sanctions were imposed as a result of Nigeria's failure to gain full certification for its counter- narcotics efforts.

Although Abacha was initially welcomed by many Nigerians, disenchantment grew rapidly. On 11 June Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding until his arrest on 23 June. In response, petroleum workers called a strike demanding that Abacha release Abiola and hand over power to him.

Other unions joined the strike, bringing economic life around Lagos and the southwest to a standstill. After calling off a threatened strike in July the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC reconsidered a general strike in August after the government imposed conditions on Abiola's release.

Minority Rights and the National Question in Nigeria

On 17 August , the government dismissed the leadership of the NLC and the petroleum unions, placed the unions under appointed administrators, and arrested Frank Kokori and other labor leaders. The government alleged in early that military officers and civilians were engaged in a coup plot. After a secret tribunal, most of the accused were convicted and several death sentences were handed down. In the government set up the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal to try Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others for their alleged roles in the killings of four Ogoni politicians.

The tribunal sentenced Saro-Wiwa and eight others to death and they were executed on 10 November On 1 October Abacha announced the timetable for a three-year transition to civilian rule. On 20 December , the government arrested General Oladipo Diya , ten officers, and eight civilians on charges of coup plotting.