African Command (Africom); the Politics and Implications for Nigeria’s Security and Strategic Development.


The expanding U.S. oil demands, as necessitated by its bourgeoning capitalist economy; the declining oil production in the Middle East; the fast growing West Africa oil sector, which is seen as alternative source of U.S oil supplies, largely concentrated in the new Gulf of Guinea, (about 70% of African oil);

The need for the U.S. to effectively surmount the existing threats by the various militant groups operating in the creeks of Niger Delta, which it considered as a hindrance for its oil interest, are all medley of events which saw to the birth of AFRICOM in October, 2008.

Altogether, Nigeria is a nation enmeshed in serious security crisis, ranging from ethnic conflicts, periodic religious clashes, militancy in the Niger Delta and worse still, terrorism, which an external military force like AFRICOM may not understand.

Hence, the study interrogated the appropriateness and the possibility of AFRICOM achieving effective peace and security in Nigeria, and the ultimate consequences which it may have on Nigeria’s security and military development, especially in consideration of the fragility and volatility of the Nigerian state.

The bulk of related data which we generated on the subject, as well as the adoption of the power theory, boosted our analytical strength and enhanced our prognosis.

On the basis of this, the study unraveled that any U.S military intervention in the Niger Delta will inversely intensify and expand militant activities to a higher proportion and also attract some terrorist groups into the country.

This may degenerate to the destabilization of the country in which the U.S may choose to promote balkanization for its own oil interest.


Background Of Study

The United States quest for oil has been vigorously defined. At about 20.7 million barrels per day, total US consumption at the end of 2009 surpassed the combined total of the next largest consumer countries- China (7.2), Japan (5.2), Russia (2.8), Germany (2.7), and India (2.6).

Giving this, steady supplies of oil products has become an even more paramount national security matter to US policy than it was in 1980 (Lysias, Uzodike and Isike, 2009:273).

This insatiable quest for energy resources pushes virtually all U.S actions towards any identifiable oil region.

As such, Washington has adopted the view that given the intractable political instability in the Middle East, it would be in the national strategic interest of the US to diversify its sources of oil dependence.

Former President George W. Bush had announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address that his intention was to replace more than 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (ISN Security Watch, Aug 7, 2007).

The development of the West Africa oil sector, the world’s fastest growing since the turn of 21st century is seen as potential panacea to America’s oil concerns especially with cheap oil supplies from the Gulf of Guinea (including Nigeria- 9%, Angola- 4.5% and Chad- 1%).

Now making up more than 15 percent of US oil imports and projected by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to increase to 25 percent by 2015 (Lysias, Uzodike and Isike, 2009:274).


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Asobie .H.A (2005) “The Conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon over Land and Sea Borders and Territories: The Political Context and the Contending Principles”, In University of Nigeria Journal of Political Economy Volume 1, Number 1.

Lysias D. G., Uzodike U. O. and Isike C. (2009) “The United States Africa Command: Security for Whom?” In Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol. 2, No. 9, March.

Onuoha, F. (2008) “US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Nigeria’s National Security”. In Africa Insight, Vol. 38(1)-June, Africa Institute of South Africa.

Onuoha, J. (2008). Beyond Diplomacy: Contemporary Issues in International Relations, Nsukka: Great AP Express Publishers Ltd.

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