n Ubuntu : Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation - Footsteps in history, colonial origins of African conflicts : an insight from the Nigeria / Cameroon border conflict

Volume 1, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 2078-760X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4950


Most of Africa's conflicts are traceable to the boundary divisions imposed by the colonial powers. Be they intra or interethnic, intra or international, the conflicts are generated mainly by the vestiges of colonialism. Though all boundaries are artificial, boundary related conflicts have increased in postcolonial Africa, especially if the boundaries dismembered members of an ethnic group and reduced them to minorities in different countries or gave a natural resource of high value to the other side of the divide. This article investigates the Nigeria/Cameroon dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula from a historical perspective. It seeks to critically expose the level of colonial involvement in terms of establishing the nexus between the arbitrariness of colonial boundaries and the enduring tensions and conflicts in post-colonial Africa. It does so by revisiting the origins of the conflict; the various approaches and reactions adopted by the disputants; the International Court of Justice's ruling; and an analysis of the case as well as an appraisal of the effectiveness of the Nigerian / Cameroon Mix Commission's approaches to a political solution.

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