In Defense of Vital Interests: United Nations and Anglo-American Diplomacy in the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970
Onianwa Oluchukwu Ignatus
Global Politics Review
Vol. 6, no. 1-2 (2020): 77-92.
GPR ID: 2464-9929_v06_i1-2_p077
Received: April 20, 2020. Accepted: July 11, 2020. Published: September 10, 2020.
ABSTRACT: This article examines the Anglo-American attitude towards the clamour for the debate of the Nigerian Civil War at the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly. To achieve this objective, the study adopts a historical narrative approach and bases its analysis on primary sources, namely, archival materials obtained from the British National Archives Kew London. The author argued that mounting pressure from the international public opinion prompted the campaign to debate the Nigerian conflict at the UN. The strong opposition from Nigeria, United Kingdom, and some Member-States of the Organization of African Unity inhibited a UN diplomatic action in the war with the perception that Western-inspired UN involvement would be viewed by African countries as neo-colonialism which posed a serious problem to the OAU peace efforts. The Anglo-American position on the matter was that the war was an internal affair under the control of the OAU. Hence, a UN initiative implied receipt of the global disposition of the conflict that strengthens the Biafran cause and weakens settlement on the basis of Nigerian unity. The urge for an official debate of the civil war proved futile because of the great power’s diplomatic manoeuvrings within the Security Council and General Assembly premised on the calculation that there existed a tendency of discussions over-flowing on to the political aspects of the dispute, thus, endanger Anglo-American interests in Nigeria. The UN exhibited strong apathy to the Nigerian-Biafran situation having adopted the approach of soft condemnations and passionate speeches to the conflict rather than inestimable patience to sought formulas useful for the resolution of the war.
Keywords: United Nations, Anglo-American, Diplomacy, Nigerian Civil War.