Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Under Two Military Juntas, 1983-1993: A Reflection of the Buhari and Babangida Regimes

Selumun Tyona


Foreign policy is the methods and means used by a nation-State to achieve its aims and interests in its relations with other nation-States. In the conduct of foreign policy, the main objective is to protect the security of the State, improve the political, social and economic well-being of the citizenry. Therefore, the paper questioned Nigeria’s foreign policy and how it affected her external relations during the two military regimes of General Buhari, 1983-1985 and, General Babangida, 1985-1993. General Buhari’s foreign policy decision to closed Nigeria’s borders with her neighbouring West African countries strained her relationship with them. General Babangida’s cancellation of the June 12, 1993 national election results dented Nigeria’s image globally. The paper’s methodology was based on secondary sources. The paper further observed that the Buhari regime inherited the deepening economic crisis, which Nigeria was engulfed in during the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari. Therefore, in order to revamp the economy, the Buhari regime emphasized that Nigeria’s foreign policy would revolve around its national security and economic well-being of Nigerians.The Babangida’s regime foreign policy was more African-focused. The regime gave assistance to some African liberation movements for the struggle of their independence. This led to the liberation of  Namibia, Mozambique from colonial rule. Equally, the Babangida regime restored peace and order in the Liberian civil war. The paper also found out that the Buhari regime conducted external relations with a retaliation reactions policy, while the Babangida regime used skillful and economic diplomacy in its foreign policy conduct. It concludes that both military regimes never had any regards to the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

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