Reciprocity Diplomacy: Analysing the Place of Citizens in Nigeria-South Africa Relations, 1999 to 2015

RESEARCH PROPOSAL Chapter One: Introduction The recent outbreaks of civil wars and conflicts in Niger (2007), Guinea Bissau (2008-2009), Côte d’Ivoire (2011), Sudan (2009-2014), etc., have received little or no pro-active peace support operations from Nigeria. This is in sharp contrast to the past active engagement of Nigeria in the sub-region. The aggressive articulation of African-centeredness in Nigeria’s foreign policy under General Murtala Mohammed  (1975-1976) made the colonial and apartheid regimes in South Africa to reduce or stop their activities. At a point, Murtala challenged the United States of America and South Africa when they planned  to  install  a  puppet  regime  in  Angola (Nigerian Army, 2011). General  Obasanjo equally employed cultural diplomacy to assert the supremacy of Nigeria in the region by hosting  high  level international conferences like  the  World  Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77’), the  World Conference for Action  against  Apartheid  and ECOWAS Heads of State  Summit, etc. The government also applied militancy in its foreign policy by ‘nationalizing’ British assets in Nigeria such as the British Petroleum in retaliation to Britain’s decision to sell crude oil to South Africa. This action, coupled with leading other African countries to boycott the 1978 Montreal Olympics forced the British government under Thatcher to reverse its proposed  recognition  of  and  support for  the minority  racist  government in  Zimbabwe (Obioma ,1986). Despite the efforts of the Nigerian people to pursue African agenda in its foreign policy, the country has witnessed series of bitterness from its African neighbours. In South Africa, it is perceived that Nigerian migrants are the most uncooperative community in South Africa. There is a general perception that Nigerians are involved in illegal activities such as drug dealing, human trafficking and money laundering. In addition they are accused of being involved in criminal syndicates such as cell phone and car theft, duplicating credit cards and money laundering. It is also difficult to police and monitor their businesses because they threaten the weak police with fire arms. Nigerians are also known for bribing corrupt police and lawyers to clear their names or making their criminal dockets disappear (Chidozie, 2014). In March 2012, South Africa sent about 125 Nigerians away and claimed that they were in possession of fake yellow fever vaccine cards. Nigeria, in retaliation, turned away 131 South Africans. It must be noted however that the origin of this goes beyond vaccination. South Africans see Nigerians

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