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International Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies

Vol. 2, Issue 1, Part A (2020)

War-time diplomacy and the politics of biafran recognition, 1967-1970


Jacob, Uche Henry, Nwobi Isaac Obiora


The Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Nigeria-Biafra War) lasted for about thirty agonizing months from 6th July 1967 to 12th January 1970. Countless number of lives were lost on both sides of the conflict and there was mass destruction of property. The war attracted international attention due to the desire of both the Biafran regime and the Federal Military Government of Nigeria to secure diplomatic support as well as military assistance from the outside world, and also, due to the individual reasons various countries of the world had for their involvement in the war. For decades, scholars have written extensively on the Nigerian-Biafra war, but little has been written on the politics of the diplomatic recognition of Biafra. The focus of this study is to find out what propelled the four African States to declare support and accord de facto recognition to the Biafran regime against the Organization of African Unity’s (OAU) position.The nature, dimension, significance and the implications of such recognition were also analyzed. The paper argues that the motivational basis of the diplomatic recognition of Biafra by the four African countries was not just on humanitarian considerations but political. Also, the findings of this work are in consonance with the assertion that “the activities of the supporters of Biafra in combination with other external influences (including the OAU) contributed to the prolongation of the war”. Though most Pro-Biafran commentators believed that the motive behind the recognition was purely humanitarian, some others, mostly those pro-federal governments of Nigeria insisted that the motive had some underlying political and economic interest emanating from French influence geared towards the disintegration of Nigeria.The Realist, the Challenge and Response Theories are adopted for the work. Data for the research were collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary sources included: oral information from interviews, archival materials, government publications, press releases and newspaper reports while secondary sources included: books, journal articles, magazines, theses, the internet and other unpublished materials. A historical methodology of analysis that is thematic, chronological and descriptive was used.

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International Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies
How to cite this article:
Jacob, Uche Henry, Nwobi Isaac Obiora. War-time diplomacy and the politics of biafran recognition, 1967-1970. Int. J. Arts Humanit. Social Stud. 2020;2(1):05-14. DOI: 10.33545/26648652.2020.v2.i1a.15
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