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Sub-Regional Security in the 1990s
Edited y
Bassey E. Ate
Bola A. Akinterinwa
Published by
Nigerian Institute of International Affairs
in co-operat1on w1th
Pumark Nigeria Limited [Educational Publishers]
PumarkNigerla Limited
1 Educational Publishers/
Preface and Acknowledgement
(!;.1 I_ssues in Nigeria's Security Relations with its
lmmedaate Neighbours
,-:::-V BasseyE. Ate
I....Y The Presence of France in West-Central Africa as a Funda-
mental Problem to Nigeria
8."tssey E. Ate
3. Borders and National Defence: An Analysis
A. I. AsiWI\IU
4. The Dynamics of Nigerian-Equatorial Guinea Relations from
Colonial Times to the Present
Jide Osuntukun
5. Nigeria and Chad
Margaret A.
6. Nigeria and Niger: The Mechanisms of Compatibility and
Emeka Nwokedi
7. Nigeria-Benin Relations: The Joys and Anguish of Bilateralism
Emeka Nwokedi
8. Nigeria and Cameroun
Bassey E. Ate. 140
9. Nigeria and Francophone States: Problems of Border Management
between Borno State of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger, Chad and
Jsmael Mohammed
10. French Security Arrangements Witb Francophone Africa: Implica-
tions for Nigeria's Relations with its Immediate Neighbours
Bola A. Akinterinwa
, 11. Frencb Economic Penetration of Nigeria: Its Security Implications
t{'ib.. Defence and Strategic Policy in Nigeria's Relations with ils Imme-
l/ diate Neighbours
Celestine Bnssey
Th Dynamics of Nigerian Equatorial Guinea
Rel:tions from Colonial Times to the Present
Proressor Jide Osuntokun
U.OOur and Devrlopmrnt or Agriculture
The introduction of cocoa 10 Spanish held Fernando Po produced a shifl from trade
inpalmoiltoplanlationagriculturc.Inthcla.slquarteroflhe 19thcenlurywhen
Fernando Powasstill dominaled firms, labour became scarce as a result
ufthegadual economic transformation of the island. Labour requirements of both
Spanish and alien employers were inadequately met by the unsophisticated io-
digeooll'ipeople,tbe Bubi. By the 1880s it became the usual practice for these
English fillll$ and their Spanish hosts to encourage "Kru men" from Liberia
employed in the various vessels plying the West African route, to accept employ-
men! oo shore. Considerable numbers of Kru men were employed in this way and
!he terms of employment were generally acceptable to those employed. Spanish
mercantile firms also began to require more labour than the island could supply
and coru;equently the Spanish government decided to pennit the transport of Kru
meo oo the gun boats Prosperidad, Libcra and Conconlia that used frequently to
visit the island.
The labourers must have been psychologically over-awed through
their experience in these gun boats. After reaching Fernando Po, they were
expected to remain nn the island for one year. Food was provided free and wages
were in kind. The U\Ual payment was a Dane gun and asupplyof gun powder. These
cooditioru; continued till llllout 1890 when thewidespreaddestruction of oil palms,
resulting from the production of palm wine, caused the trading communily to look
for Dew exports. As pointed out earlier, cocoa began to take pride of place around
this time. Io actual fact, the planting of cocoa on a commercial scale was first
eoeouraged by the Engli5hman, Lynslager. The trade grew and Spanish and
began to buy land extensively from the indigenous Bubi paying
for 11 wrth pn and brandy. The results were quickly disastrous for the Bubi, wbo by
1905 were regarded as a degenerate race, well on the way to extinction.
Agricultural devdopmenr in Femando Po various constraints. There was
little or no infrastructure on the island, thus hampering mobiliry of goods and the
small labour force The Spanish regime took no interest in linking the
capital with other rent res of settlements. San Car Ios, for example, had no road link
with Santa lsabel, a distance of thirty miles, with the result that goods had to be
sent by sea to and from lhese important settlements. There was also constant
171f.' Dynamics of Nigerian Equatonal Guinea Rc/Qllmu:
7 open to
their to their European competitors.
seVeral Sierra settlers the British community were open nation!
anack from Spantards who mampulated the laws of d .
prosperity of these "alien capitalists.'.2 But the greatest ptoblem
facing Fernando .Po was shortage of Even though only 3.5 per cent of the
crucial to economtc of the island Unfortunately, for Fcmando
Po, the .Spamsh Wll.nted to embark upon agrieultura]
of th.e ':'land comaded wttb the period of the intensification of

the neighbou.ring Portuguese Island ofSao Tome, which exported over sixty million
pounds sterhng worth of cocoa, compared with six million pounds worth
of cocoa produced in Fern::mdo Po in 1909.
The reason for this gross disparity
was availability of labour to Sao Tome from Angola which served as a humaa
reservoir to the Portuguese Atlantic Islands, whereas Fernando Po did not have
such a on the mainland. Rio Muni was hardly in a position to supply
labour to Fernando Po since Rio Muni itselfwa!l not yet pacified, and the Spanish
government was not in effective occupation of the entire area. 11 became quite
clear theft to all concerned that ifFernandoPowastodew:lop,labour must be
sought somewhere in West Africa.
AfricaDlabourreguiterslirstmadethcirappearanceaboutlll%. About that
time a Lagos.iao named Rcis begnn importing Yoruha labour from Lagos aad
The Yoruba soon decided that the oonditions in Fernano.lo Po were
unsatisfactorysothissourceoflaboursupplydriedup. Somc450ofthemhadto
be repatriated en masse at the CJptnst of the Spanish government when they\VCre
on illegal strike. About 1900, a Sierra Leonian by the name o[ Vivour to
bring labour in oonsidcrable numbers from Freetown, Monrovi.o. and Acaa. The
Spaniards enacted in J9()(, a labour code and conditions improved for mig:raat
workers. In spite of this the Sierra Lconian government put an end tu organised
reCfuiting, apparently because they considered the methods used illegal. It was
useless to seck supplies of labour in the neighbouring as the Gennan
concessions were then employing nearly 40,000 Africans and \VC re even recruiti11g
labour from Liberia. Accordingly, the S!Jllniards sent a labour cummiS!.iun to
Liberia. Thesuca:ssofthismissioncanbcguagedhythcfactthathyiWILherc
agreement whereby many thousand.\ of Angulans and Mol.amb"l.ucan' haLl been

. S Tome 811 dPrincipc:. Before 190l,andparticularlyin
iodaarured for ;':.bourers from Liberia was done through private in..


with some Liberians. These rights were subsequently
fi"'C" African recruiters u.suaUywent into the
Jiokedupwilhcbiefswbo produced these: labourer a.od were

I. Butfroaa 1897tbeLibcriangovernmealtnedtoconlroltbisnewsJave
that contractors of labour should post -a $150 bond for
=and imposed a f"me of $100 for a labourer who might die in Femando
ro. Tbc recruiter -was also to buy his for S250and _pay SS on each labourer.
Jaspircofthcsc Jaws illegal ualfiCkingcontinued was profitable. In 1903
tbe an agrtc:ment !he German f"ll"lD
ADd Helm. The position of a bond ID rerum the compaaypromised
tn repatriate 'time expired' labourers back_ Workers were not to be
pcnnined under any circumstance to rem am ID Libena for more than years_
A similat agreement was signed with another Germaa f"arm WocrmaiUl Lime A. G.
with tile important difference that the Woermann Company could ship their
labourers to aaywhere outside Fernando Po. In the recruiting exercise the head-
man SCCllled to play an important role and he and the Liberian national treasury
beaefited from this traffic either through payment of commission and taxes directly
to tile headman, the ageots and the Liberian government, or through fraudulent
means whereby some months' salaries were collected by agents before the
laboiiJ'erSieftLiberianshores.. TheGennan f"Lnnsthe.melvc.s made ranging
from 100 to 150 per cent through the same fraudulent methods. But another
acconl wasligncd by Liberian and Spanish authorities in Fernando Po in 1905 to
blocl the loopholes in the existing agreements. The Liberian authorities were
11ndcrso mucb international pressure that by 1908 they bad tightened things up 10
such 11.0 extent that the Spanish authorities began to fmd it extremely difficult to
reauitlabour. Wben the Spaniards tried to lap the labour resources of Rio M
they met with failure, because planters and traders in Rio Muni bad
become sufficiently numerous that they were able to impress upon the authorities
that their labour needs were great enough to absorb all the available local labour
supply. Since the British embargoed the cxpon of labollf from their colonies to
Spaa.ish Guinea, the Liberi1n connectioa was revived again and after the Liberian
SccrcWy of State, Joscph J. Sharp, had toured Femando Po in 1913 and apparentJy
rcpolted favourably ahout the labour conditions, the two govelllJDcnts ed a
&grument Libcrilllllabourers to be recruited ro::rvice
m Fernudo Po. The L1benan economy at this time was in a mess and b 1912 th
country's economy had been put to international teccivuship bcUiuse
Nlpia aad Eqaatort.l Galaa:1914- ... .,_..,_
.as a wbolc aad iD Ni&eria ia particulu. Tbc Spuiards bad beea-:...:

tud wbcre labow- was abwadaat. The Spaniard& wuc ill tbc hlbil or .uia&
promilc5 or hi&b -acs wbX:b acwr paid aad olllicliDalbt. f.act
that tbc labourers wac goiaaiO fcnwulo Po. llisquiledarthar.liacc 1.8ZJ
Fcroando Po had bceD bcavily dcpeDdeat DD Old Ca1abar aad bad 10
CXICDI maiataUacd Ibis 5latc of depeDdcDcy e\'al up to tbe OUibralr; a( lliC 'fira
World War. lnordertopucaacndtolbcilleplbiiiDIIDhllcbc:cweaaNiFril

tbc N"!Frlaa aulhorittcs saw u a new slave trade.
When war broke out in Europe, it was quite clear tiYI tbc Nirpria-Fenwldo Po
rdation was goiq to undergo a period of ll.raia. Tbc Gcrmaas had al-ys be-.
iatcrcslcd iD Femando Po; they bad made ceoaomic: inroads into lbc islaDd, .ad
the c:anyingtrade ohhe island wu larply in tbeir lwul&. TheSpanisb alllbarilic5
there were alsosolidlypro-GermiJI. The Germanscturiqtbcwar wen: IIIo 1llill&
Pemaado Po as transmitting stations to pt in touch wilb their -.-sbips se-nen:d
iD the Southern Atlantic ud the British also had ample to IIJIFII.Ihll.
Spaniards were enpaed in p-nmning ror tbe Germans durina tbe period of
hostilitiesia OermaoCimerouns.
Even aftertheeoadusioaollaoitilitic.in 1916,
tbe Spanisb authorities c:ontinucd to give sueeou to ddutcd Gerawa troops ud
tbeir Afric:aa soldic:rswhowcre"intcmcd" in FcmudoPo, butMio.cn: _....,
traiaiaa to re-occupy the CamerouOL Cons1111twas the eorrapoDdeaa: bdweea
Uldbetwcea Loadoa,PardandMadridoverthebollilcaniludc
of the authorities 011 Fernaodo Po bland to .Uicd mi6tuy operatiom ia tbc
Clmer011111. Although tbt fears of tht allied powers about SUt-niOII duou&b
Feraaado Po came to notbinc, tbe faaatiU remaim Uaat FerDIDdo Po la tile b...a
a "aeuual" Fcnudo Po duriq die Pint World War caused eoaWdtrablc: bcart
W"llbtllc eacl oflbc .... aad lbe iiDpositK. or a l.apr: ofNaliOIII. .......saae-
lllcc:a.eroa-. acbDiaillcndb)'llacBrililhudtbeFreada,tllt IGirilyllpcc:lal

54 Nigoiaandiu Jmmedialt Ntighbollfr


whole of Equatorial Guinea. Labour from 1920 onwards
Feroando Po ;.
Mu.o.i from Gabon and the Cai:Qerouns under French
into Fernando untill928 came

of 1
11our [tom 1928 compeUed the Spanish authorities to adopt other method$.
Unorganised recruiling from various points on the West African coast stiU brought
in labourers but in insufficient quantity. The island enjoyed a post-war boom during
the 1921ls and as this neared its climax around 1929 various efforts were made to
procure labour at all costs. In 1929 Madrid tried to beat the problem of shonage
of artisaruo by unsuccessfully arranging th8t Rumania should send to FernaDdo Po
skiUcd carpenters, smiths and mechanics. t
In 1931the Chamber of Agriculture in
Femaodo Po sent a missioo to China to recruit 'coolies' but the mission proved
unsuccessful. and women were consequently recruited into the labour
force in Fernando Po and the judicial system that was used to brand all joblCS$
people as rogues seemed to have sufficed to induce labourers to go to the plantation
until 1933 when the French government complained to the League of Nations of
the treatment meted out to Cameroun labourers in Spanish Guinea. This in effect
meant that the Spaniards could not cootiouc treating their subjects with the same
tional attention. A treaty to regulate the enlistment of Camerounians was signed
between !be French and Spanish governments in 1934 and the Spaniards issued a
Labour Code on February 15, 1915 containing a number of the provisions of the
agreement. This decree fllstly, made provision for the supply of food and quinine
for labourers and secondly, a Spanishcoruu/ dt CorriM! was appointed to Du ala to
supervise and encourage reauiting but it seems, he had scant success. The French
authorities seemed to have been equaUy dis.satisfied for they denounced the treaty
In 1937, the fanners of the island began to look seriously for labour in Calabar
and part of the Clmerouns under British Mandate. The threat this posed to the
and of Nigeria was suclt that the set up a preventive

cargo to FernaDdo
service the police force was withdl11WD thus re5ulfinA .ave an act on the illegal
U'affie in men by canoe owners around the Cross Pl11dlca mooopoly of the
The Dynamics of Equarorial GumeG Re/IJhOfU
The traffic, a5 it W8$, was _well iaN" .
andcmp\oyen; mFcnaando Po. ThcQ.Doe,sgeoeraD
nvo)'S The Spanish govcl'lliDCnt ud employen; paid rtci'U:crs 1a-_rL.
and. pesetas out ofw_hicb the "canoe mea" and
share. Theysupplcmcotedthi!;rev;ouebytradiogiucontn.ba.ad.
lt can thus be seen that the Sparuards romaboutl890onwardsrccruitedlabour

which to operate. JDwney was short and the rewards considerable.
Moreover,labour condttlons on the Island of Femando Po had tlw.
service on the island was not unattractive to people who
oblCS5 while ia
Nigeria. The Spanish authorities knew that Nigeria was the Last MlUCO: of
foreign labour and they were not to fail since failure would IDeaJI the loos
of 12,000 tons of wcoa and 3,000 Ions
of coffee exported annually from Fenumdo
Po to Spain. These commodities Spain could not get in any other place beaUS she
had scarce foreign reserves, most of which were committed to buying mditary
hardware because of the internal political problems in il5clf. In order DOt to
fail, the Spanish authorities in Fernando Powere prepared to labour
The only \;tbour codes that tried to regulate the conditions of labourers in
Femando Po before the Second World War were the 1906 Rtglammfo dd TraiNljo
fndigena, i.e. the Native Labour Code. This rode was described as provisional but
it remained on the status books until 1940. The code was not completely
it provided for a one year contract, a minimum wage, and al<.a made pnwision for
keeping half the wage with the labour officer motben. and
children under ten were not to be put to heavy work. There was provision for
free rations and housing. Men were cxpeded to work for ten hnun. and women
eight hours daily. however, could not leave their employeB or the
plantations except with written This code applied to alien labourtn,
but occasionally it was stretched to apply to the: Buhi population of the: island. In
1908, for example:, during one: of the recruiting of labour, all Buhia DOl
one: hectare of land were compelled to enter temporary wntuct. The
altc:mative W".!S forty days hard labour. provis.ioru. wt:rc "'' han.hly enfurcrd
that by 1910 the supposedly docile Bubi ofBalacbc area revultcd.
In of the
c:Oslenec oft he TrabQjo of l'l()(, it I he
not obeying the laws., for in 191.5 the Spanish aulhurities in series of
and commands to planters made: it clear lhatthe planlcN \lo"erc nnt fulfillillfl.their
wage of each ldbourer to the lahour offio:cr a.' In ]Q2'1. thc_!1o_r-ant\h
tx-came w angl)' with wlw were of the
The Dyrrum1cs of N!guiQ/1 E4wltonul Gui!Je11
usage.' Polygamy countenanced was discouraged by a
operating after the cspo_usal. There .was a hierarchy of nativecauru o;ul,aWw.

was thcit aim to acludc
The territorial administration was based oo separate adnunistration for Fenw.-
do Po and another one for Rio Muni and the remaining Tbe
took little interest in Africao educatioo thougb catholic miMiooary
allowed to operate in Spanish Guinea. Before the Second World War then, ooc
can conclude that Spain was beginning to take more iotercst in Sp.lnish Guinea not
for altruistic reason but solely for purposes of Statemeob ol the
Spanish "mission" in Africa were being made that it began to s.cem tllat tbc k
rod of the exploiter has been so swathed in altruistic profCiiStOM h<l5 come
to look almost like an umbrella.''
1t was, however, clear that !.LIIa: FctnaDdoPo
W<15 dependent on migratory labour which gave the island a transieot!Wure, tbe
full impact of Spanish Administration was never really felt ami even up till1940,
"pidgin English" continue to be the fi11gua of the island. TbiS dcpcadella:
on migratory labour made Fernando Po almlllit a no-man's island and made bu
future not only oconomically
doubtful but also politically un.safe.ZD
lt is generally aeoepted that when people move voluntarily from one place to
another, they must be doing so the recip1ent area must $DIIIClhiq
more than the lrn;ing area to offer. This wuultl be true not only with reprd to
internal mgration, either rural-urban, or urban-urban but alaowbr.a
international boundariu arc invulvcd. The migratory phenomenon could be cs-
plametl in t.he!ioCIISC of"pu.\h"and"pull" factors. "Push" tnthe
favourable cunditiuru; at hume anU "pull" in the !i.Cru.c usuroed
condition in the receiving Pulitical opprep,ion, lack uf ec.oDOIIlic opp:w-
shortage of land in particular, could lc11d to emdU5 of a people to IIIOlher
more There of coun.e the "ethnic Pull"; tllat is people teod lo
m1grate to an area where of the ('Arent ethnic group alrady
fact on apphed in the caw: of lahour migration to Femuldo Po
from l'Oigeria
R1ght fr11 m IRUI to the ufthe Sccn.nd World_ War, Nigcri.an lahour bad alwayl
played an role m the econmme Po. Byl914,_or
eumple, there were JU,(O} in FerMJido Po came IILiia)y
frnm Owerri, Calahar, OJuja, Omt&lla ... d Cameroun m that Ofda

.. po, Bende,lkot-DJC-Qe and U)'U. Tbaealc.aaretbdJypopu-
lated to tht e.llenttbatll .... IUkl bt d!ifiCI,L[ttu ruis.ltbc argumCDt tlul IJII
aid fadOfl musilll emignlioo. The second factor 9las
Jaod \WSOOe tbe
libcl'al pa)IIIMI fer03DC1oPo.Z3 The lbirdtacror drMoa labourers
1D111 bf'O\IPI ':, c:ollectioo ia Nipria This was boroe our by tile fact
rrosoAugustto wasalsotbepe!::
:;-:-coJieclioo. There WIS also rbe fact that N'Fnao labourers eaP&ed io
luctllivt.;:,::;:: inrerprdcd usugesliog tbat conditioos ia Feroa.do

. i93'7IDCI 1938 the Spaniard 1'oWC faced watb the perenn1al proble10 of IICUdty
:)lbout. "Ibis was primarily due to illlrtalmtDI ofN"J8Crian there and
tbe ioeoavertibilil:y ofSpaaisb pesdas IS I resuJI: of DODrecogrtltioa Of f"raacisr:o
FtMICO'sregilaebyGreat Britain. Evea the preseace of Nigerians iD Po
w.silkplas Car as !.be Brilish were Recruii:IDCDI of labour
to anywhere was forbidden by the Labour No. 1 ofl929,aad

'Ni&eriaD' people bid heeD goiag to Peroando Po illegally from 1828 ODWards.
Heac:c, io t939aa adroiaistntive ofi"ICCJ" was sent lo Puoaado Po by lbe govern-
meal coadilioDS oa tile island 111d 1o evolve io
collaboration with lbe aulborilies measures which would enSure lbc
Mlfarc ofNipriaa labourers.
"lbismiaioA laidlhe foUDdatioo for tbc Anglo-
Spaoilb labour accordsiped io 1942, bUirqotlalioa ofwbicb began ia 1940, which
Wlli desigaed to strwo-lioe relatioll5 berweeo N"lpria and Puoaodo Po.
Various reasons led to lbe sipin&oftbi&apeemeaL The British were uxious
about the rhrear of lhe possihk use of Fcroaaclo Po against British territories by
lhe Axis powers, siPCC it was cw:n rumoured thal Spanisll territories were UDder
Nazi inHueac:e and lbat there was 1 group leader (Purbtcr) for the Germao
National Party in Pemaudo Po. whose name was gjvca as Dr.
Joseph Woraer. The N"'ltriaftPemudo Po labour accord was tbcrcrorc
aepliarcd ia the splrit or ADglo-Spani&b reapproacbmeataod ia consideration of

Atthewnetimelhe British were prepared
IO COlWder adiOft against Fernando Po if Spaia went over the Axis
powers, and the Admira1ty even commented lh
1 1

caplurcFeroancloPoshouldnotbeabeavycommit . a a nava operation lo
oa lhe i.dand w.u not mote thao 2011. As iho
Conuaauclerin-ChierSouthothcAt1anl" . b point, the Bnllsh Naval
OIJic:e or the Colollial OrfK:C. aod
lllliiO}'Uicc, ordered H.M.S. Drqoa to proc:ecd peat embarrassment and
Brilisb nationals with rhe cxcepeion olbc v; Con. 1940 to evacuate aU
were no1 given prior inrormatiOJI abnutthil :d The Spanish authorities
ey made the riabt dedudion by
The Dyru1mies of Nigeritua EqutiiJ)riJd GIIU!u IWiau 5e

tbem to the Spaniards wbo were iD any case S)'Dipalhetic to the Ge DOl: elldear
di.scJUninated agaiast:British nationals in Feruando Potbrougbout =::s:
of the war, or perhaps of it, the British -nt ahead to negotiate a labo!u
ueat)' with Spain Feruando Po and Nigeria fro111 1940 to 1942. lbc
ostensible reason for thiS agreement was to prevent illegal trafficking in labouten.
The: British claimed that;
... the object of these negotiations with Spanish gO\IU!Imc:at was to
regularize what bad become a large seale traffic in iaboUJ and to ea.
deavour to eliminate the unscrupulous native 'blac:k birdet' wbo carucd
a lucrative livelihood by kidnapping the ignorant pea:;aat:s from the Ibo
andlbibioareas ...
The question to ask iswbythe British bad to wait until the time of the_.. tn IISC
Nigerian labour to bail Spain out of possible desertion to and military co-opuatioa
with the axis powers against the allies. One can of course the British
recognized that if they did not do anything at that time the problem would get out
of band since the number of Nigerians on the island was oa the incrc:asc.
ID December 1942 a lreaty was signed betwc:cn Nigeria and the Spanish
authorities in Femandn Po to obtain a regular supply ol healthy labou.rus. The
agreement stipulated that only labourors over the age of 16 could be rcauiled.
Records and photographs of eacb labourer were kept at Calabar and Santalsabcl
The labourer could be recruited to work in agriculture, industry or forestry. The
duration of the contract was initially one year for bachelors and two yu.rs for a
married man who went with his wife. The contract was renewable for the ume
number of years., but in the case of a bac:hclor, he mw.t return to Nigeria before
taking up another contract. Adequate rations and shelter were to be provided free.
An agricultural labourer was to be paid !I a month and others c:amed 40 pet cent
more. Half of lhis money was to be paid to the labourer and the remaining half was
to be deposited at the office olbe Curador colonial of Femando Po who held the
money in trust for the labourer until the expiration or termination of the contratl;
money accruing to the labourer was then to be paid by the DitTCtion dr: M12CW1dD
or treasury. There was even some provision for protestant and muslim missionarica
to work with Nigerians in Fenando Po. Any illegal immigrants were to be
repatriated at Nigeria's expense:. The most important daUM: in all the treaty Will
clause XXVIll wbieh stated illfu alia " ... .if the employer falls to fulrd IDY ol bil
afore-mentioned obligations in respect of the reJnlriation of a worker uadlor his
family, the said obligation s.haU be performed by the govemmcnt of FetD&Ddo

IKkr this apemau N"!priulabourers could be recnaited for WOrk .
V ud Rio Mwli aDCI tbe oilier Spanish Islands. Tbewwkiog Ull>cr.
IIIJIIIo Po Alpervised by a labour oftic:e at Calabar. AI the rcqllclt Of tbe
tbcfind Joha HoJtaad Company wu the
or recruitiaglabout for the Spanish cbaP:Iber of commerce in Pt.rQaq

.b.-recruiterS-J3.r1u: N'agerianp-enuDcnt of any 0 11mbeq
r:l!abCJurcrS JICII 250 1 111011th. The Spanish aulbontJcs aimed at Jllaiq..
raiDiaS a labour orcc of approziDWdY 14.000 mcD. A the nonaal duratiOJa of a
labuaraJIIUXIMI eigllleeamoDihsor two years, abou16,000 or 7,000 l'C:cUriti
required cac11 ,ar to replace mea whose contracts had Qpired_ Tbe
...-bcl"rlrc:aailsasuaiJyfdl bclowtbcaumber and in fact oaly 1,431)1'

.re usua0y placed ia. (J'aiiSil camp aad wcre disln"buted to their
emploJer5 dcr c:ompliaacc with medical aad po1ke formalities. Tbe papers ri'OID
tbe police and .-1icaJ authorilies with the copy of the contract could then be
baDdcd by tile worker OYCJ to the employer for safe keeping. Withou( these
doc::wDeaU the laboarcr would DOl be able to leawe the islaad by orthodox DICaas
ad lbc miliwy coa1r01 or tbc islaDd was such that it was virtually impossible for
A.tbou&fl immipatioa was CODtJOUcd by 1be 1942 treaty, yet D.lepl b'affic:kiDg
c:oatillllcd. Four polllllk llcrliagwas lhe price paid per labourer illcplly &mugled
iD. The .awe rl die wortcr - Dlhltally CODDCded with ofi"JC.i.al admiaistraticm.
oltbecok!aywlaic:hfor IDOilloftbistimcwasc:orrupt. veaalud iaeflidcoL The

Wll5 that lUll)' of them were N"!priam.
AJI'fcmploycr c:ould aay of his
labourers placed iD prima for as loqas be liked widl or without flogiDg.
ne 1942 .,. 111 Wllllitipted w m aU respects. n salis&ed
nobody. TbcSpuisb 1uthoriliesriptlydbmed lhal: tbcydid aot get tbeadeq.we
supply of llbour promised them wuler lhe lrcll)'. Members of the Pcmudo Pa
badlovilir.CIIbu iD 194410 discuss what steps collld be
takeo 10 n&c ot recruitmcat. The impresaicm tt.c
JOI wbilccmpiOJIUifullyrCIJiscd their dcpcadcacc oa

llbourofJ"ac:erDdsllllwedliUicialcrar.whilcre . ID.I u 7

et or died aad lD the case

uch cut off from .their during. the period of their contr.c:t.

==ive amd.itioos io Fernaacio Po led 10 o( bbour
to luerativeDesi. of the The
c:oastJioeofN"JFria made it.pbysicallyimpo&SI.O!e for tile aulhoritict.to lbr.

9t'il)adraWP i.a 1944 follOWlllg aD ordu from the CoiiiiDi:aioDer of th.t lbr.
practiee of firing across the boW5 of caDOCS lo force lbem to Slop was to cease.
Tbc:se canoes engaged io the iUicit traffic operated D:Q;tly from the IIClWork of

regularlYeugagediD.thetr:aflicfrolll theN".geriaallide.Tbt&aooeswuepropellcd
by about tCII paddlers aDd usually carried up to ud took filteeo.
to tweDty bours for the journey from Calabar to Santa lsabd. Apart from labouren
the arricd palm oil, kernel, rubber, yams, garri, motor-cycle tyres ud drugs.
Tbe profits on all these were such as to justify the smugglers' riU.. 011
the Spanish side the wbole traffic was dealt with io aD organized ud official basis.
Calloes paid habour at 5aDta lsabel ud cargoes were customcd. On arrival in
the habour the "Captajnsn of these CBIIOeS were met by officials of the }1UJ14 M
Aba.stos wbo bought the cargoes 1U1d organised the distribution of labouren.
Smugglen were paid i.a Spanish currcacy ud they had therefore to 111rn IDOil of
their e.aruiiip ioto Spmisb goods wbicb they then smugicd back to NiseriL
Braady and perfumes appeared to be the chief cargoes carried. In Yiew of thil
smugl.iDg, the Nigerian government considered denouncing the 1942 qrecmeut.
Bill it was felt that repudiation of the agreement would lead to
to smuggl.i.ns of labour by canoes which although still continuing would greatly
increase if official rcauiting were to come to an end. Repudiation of the agrecmcot,
111orcover, would not cause 1111y serious iaconvenieoec to the Spaniards. wbo 'WOUld
SliD be able to obtain labour iUegally. Repudiation would on the other band pill aa
end to any immediate hope of securing the improveiiiCDI in conditions., bcrM:ver
slight that # be, which the British claimed tbe apee111c:nt was designed to
secure. Tbc: Brilisb realized that tbcy could therefore not repudi..te the apeemeat
atJd that c:ffccbve patrol of the c:oas1 would also have to wait until the end of tbe
war; the IIWI iA dwge ruefully eoiDIIICntcd " ... if- Cllll ultimately obtain th.M
COIIb'ol,- daall be able: to threaten the wbole basis o[Fernando Po's ec:onomyud
we ought theD to be able: to male them do wbat we liltc:.'.l6
More galling was the p-o-Axis sympathy of the authorities in Femando Po
during the war cspedaDyof the Governor-General, Don Mariano Alonso. In-treat
lltCIIt of N"JFrian lebourcn was iAW.Wely related to pro-Am of
administratjon. The Utdon Jack was not respected and the Brtisb Coual1
Nitftrlo (llld its rmmtdiatr: Nr:ighboun

hand gave prominent publicity to and ltalia?, eonua:::!:
. British
a1s wishWg to leave tbc zone of Santa lsabel were obliged to obtain
;::Is on each occasion. This included the British Vice-Consul of the
wbercas Germans had rreedom of movement everywhere on the island. Other
aatiBritish the arrest on 13th February, 1943o(
the British chaplain in his missiou house ID because according to the
S ish authorities his mission house was 10 a. oulitary zone! ne Methodist
had a heavy taxatioa imposed OD m 1943 to 1932.
Nigerians were also [rcquCIItly arrested or Cor B'_ltash. !he British also
suspected tbat Spanish and German agetllS were Into. Nagcria uDder the
guise that tbcy were repatriated labourcts. The Brtllsh even cla1med that the wife
of the German Consul in Santa Isabcl was once seen to be buying passages for
agents posing as labourers to return toNigeria.
The British were quite concerned
about the security aspects ohhc pro-Axisstance ofFcrnando Po. This was rightly
50, was a small number of Nazis in Fcrnando Po including the Gcnnan
Consul who had dirca cypher communication with Germany. The offiCials of the
administration of Femando Po were fai&Dgists who were unfriendly to BritaiQ.
There were resident in the islud several hundred ProGerman Kamerun soldiers
in the Spanish Guardio col011isl. Some were refugees and selllers from the
Camcrouns who had emigrated there since 1916
and bad been joined by others.
These people hadformcdaPro-GermaqorgallizationcalledKanaenm Eingebom1111
Dnllsdrt: Guinnlt:n (Unicm or Camcrouns natives friendly to the Germans).
The Germans were using these people for espionage in Nigeria and German
propaganda was actually pttiog into Niscria by 1944.
It is of course to be
that the British -re not objective in their criticism or pro-Gcrman
fcclmporthe local administration. Although relations were far from cordial, they
bytbcfKI.that some of the British Vicc-Consul'scommunicatioDS
Governor-General of Spanish Guinea were couched in hardly courteous
G:::;ilish consoled by believing that the anti-Britisb policy of the
and was
one though certainly aided
abnoat every disgruntled Ni&crian thal.he saw:' a spy in
no doubt sure of the devil they were Th ume. were
cxa.mple, ap1ly desaibcd the situation wbca cBrtash_coosuiJDDuala, for
British Vicc-Co115ul hod to COIIdud busincu with that 10 Femaado Po the
wos -t one time a house paioter like
cena" He
GovemorGCDeral who
precisely the amount of and rr Adolpb Hitler, and who has
1011 ooe 'NOUld capect from Spaaisb
The Dynamics af Nigerillll Equflloria/ GWI!eo Relatiotu
aflisa'l .. :.4
Some: British officials blamed the spiaelessnc:ss of their home
mmc:nt for the tmsatidat.tory condition in Feruaodo Pn. They argued
Powbicb relied on Nigeria only for labo11rbut for food should=
bavt: been aUowed to pose a secllrlly threat to Nigeria. One British official
... it is only too apparent that the time has come for the mus which is
femando Po to be cleared up in our OWD interest and thoscoithe few
decent and rational minded Spanish colonists who remain, and it is
obviow; too that it is the British government who have gollo do the
fact oftbe strongpositioo which Great
"Jbe hostile attitude to the British, however, began to change foUowiogthe coUapsc
of Mussolini's Italy, a sign which was read as portents of things to come 00 lhe
island. In fact by March 1945the achninistratioo ootbe island was not only giving
publiciryto British victories, but also co-operating with Nigeria to stop the
tation of palm oil from the Nigcr Delta to Fernando Po as well as commodity and
labour smuggling to Fernando Po.
In spite of the mutual antr.gonism, the 1942
labour agreement remained in force throughout the period of the war, but neither
the agreement remained, as can be seen unfulflikd on both Nevertbele&s,
this agreement remained in force without any revision tmtill950. The reasons for
this were quite apparent. Firstly, the tempo of nationalist agitation after the Secood
World War rose in Nigeria. This was charadcrilocd by strikes, sucb as the one in
1945. Organisation of nation-wide: nationalist parties and the emergence of a
politician like Nnamdi Azikiwe who possessed enough charisma to attract oational
following were important developments of this period. These gave the
administration much to think nbout. Emigration to Femando Po was seen U a
safety valve. Secondly, the aw;terity which was nea:ssilated by the war bad mack
many of Nigeria's needs so acute, the cost when taken cumulatkdy
became liO burdensome that all efforts of the government were directed to solviD&
these problems and they har.l no time for revi5ion of the Fc:mando Po Nigeria
The revised agreement of 19.'i0trall$ferrer.lthe to recnUt labour in
Nigeria from the British firm of John Holt and Company Limited to the ADclo-
Spanish employment agency. This agreement also contained a dausc to n:pabim
illegally reauitc:d labour 111 Nigeria. This in fad WillS a clear tbal. tbc
Spaniards whose agents u...cU to "kidnap" people from the: Crou. Rnoa ua. o(
Nigeria .and ship them to Fc:mando Po were quite contented with tbe availiNc
manpower on their island and were trying to avoid uy cause for will!
Nif!ViQ (llld its Jmmediolt Ntigl1boun
Ni erian authorities. This 1950agrecment the improPer
eJorcW !942
labourers must Conform with conventions of the
aUegations of of Nigerian Warkers
continued to be made by returning ;rns a led b)<

round Po by the who made only the 80od

delegation, however, achieved some of success smce was able to advise
that salaries of the labourers should be raiSCd and that soctal and education!
ser;ices for the labourers and their children should be improved. This concerned
recommendW a register of all Nigerian workers in Fernando Po should be
properly kept. All these recommendations were incorporated into a revised agree-
ment in 1954. Another delegation led byChiefF.S. Okotie-Eboh went to Fernando
25 per cent pay rise for Nigerian workers t?e payment of fee of live
pounds sterling on each labourer to the N1genan government. Thts money was
then shared between the Fedeml and Eastern regional government in lieu of the
tllllcs payable by these Nigerian workers in Fernando Po. The agreement also made
provision for increased recruitment of Nigerian labour for plantation agriculture
in Fernando Po. Up to a maximumofSOOcould be recruited monthly from Nigeria.
It is of course clear that Nigeria was not as wealthy as it is today when oil revenue
bas made Nigeria a relativdy affluent at least in Africa, but the acceptance
of this capitation fee by the Federal and Eastern regional governments in a way
made the Nigcrii!D government an accomplice in the degradation of Nigerian
labourers ia Fernando Po since it wns big business for the government to keep
Nigeria11labour in Fern undo Po no mauer what the situation there was.
The Spanish authorities for reasons better known to themselves again invited
the Nigerian send yet another delegation in 1957 led by Chief J.M.
The delegation reported widespread ill-treatment of Nigerian labourers,
hours of from wages and failure to supply food
The delegallon VISited R1o Muni for the first time. (A thing that uxzles
one 15 :-v_hy the never thought it fit to invite the Fema:do p
Nigeria was the beggar
indude payment of compeiiSIItion in cases of to
oootre.aty labourers; secondly, to prohibit long periods of
The DynDmics nf NigrriDfl E'{IJDforiD{ Re/4tiolu
. cases where labourers were accused of crimi.aaJ ocnca; third! .
;ss S)'Stem for NigcriaD workers.4S TbcgovelllmCDt
nlllDbcroflabourers recruited for FeruandoPocouldiofac:tbcinCI"case.d.
. spite of the fact that some members of the ddcptioo bad sharp! . . .
under which $0me of the labouren WOtked
laotatioos on the island.. In rcspollSC the gt)VCnlmcotscot a labo fficu
the mainly to deal with labour problems aod to look after the .:;;an ol
the Nigenan labourers.

tuallapses of '".d.tvtdual some of who were in fad: brought to book by the
Spanish authonlles on the island. Furthermore, the govclllmcolS of Nigeria llfld
Fernando Po agreed that the labour contracts were mutually bcodicial if ootto
individuals at least to the two contracting governments. wbo'MJuld U.vc
been unemployed at home were ga.i.o.fully employed m FernaDdo Po at1d both the
Federal and East regionaJ governments m addition dcriYcd pcamiary benefits lroal
this. On the other hand Feroaodo Po which had remained starved of Labour for a
long time was able to embark OD planned Bgricultural. dcvelopmcol Even wbco
opposition to conditions OD Fernaodo Po was aired, it was with the purpose of
amelioration and nooe of the critics of the labour cooditioos oo the island ever
suggested a complete halt to rcauitmeDt.
and Equatorial Guloea from Independence to Civil War
With the approach o independence in Nigeria following on the wake of Ghana's
independence in 1957 the labour relations between Nigeria and Fcrnando Po began
to assume new dimensioii.S. Tbe transformation from a colonial state into full
sovereignty in Nigeria was bound to affect the relations and what used to be a
colonial problem became a diplomatic problem. The signs of the future relationship
became evident, when on the eve of Independence, Tht Pilot, the official organ of
the National Council of Nigeria and the C&merouos and a junior partner m the
Federal Coalition Government, carried an editorial calling on the Federal Govern-
ment to op<: n negotiation with Spain for the purpose of annexing Femando Po which
the paper claimed was geographically part of Nigeria. ot6 With Nigeria becoming a
sovereign stale in October 1960 under the leadership or Sir Abubakar Talawa
Balewa advocates of annexation or Femando Po must have thought that they had
a of forcing their will on the Federal Government. The NCNC which had
advocated this course of action controlled the foreign aiTain department through
its nominee Jaja Nwaebukwu as foreign minister. But because of the nature of the
coalition gO\'Crument the NCNC never really enjoyed absolute control Una: the
Federal Prime Minister bad tbc overaJI control of and responsibility for foreip
Nigtrio (l!ld its Immediate Neighbours
....Ji decisions.. One can see from recent on Nigeria's foreign policy oil th'
t:""' C'J th N' eria followed a low profile pohey usuaUy referred 10 as .. IS
"functional approach," in her with her
policy meant that there was rather than do
this, auempts at regional co-operauoo ep.tomiS_ed by the of such bodie&
as the Chad Basin Commission and Rtver CommiSSIOn, were made. 47 All
instigate aggressive aganst Po by a combined Pat-
liamentarya,tion and press campaign fortheaonexallon of what one of the papers
as the "Goa" of failed for several Nigeria was
united enough to pursue a dynamic foreign policy. the fact that
foreign policy could in factbeusedtofosterthe spmt home, but this
would have been a realistic policyi!Fernando Powas a sovere1gn and weak African
country. The fad was that Femaodo Po was still by the might of Spain
and Spanish authorities at this time were using the bogey of possible Nigerian
territorial covetousness of Femando Po to persuade nationalists there that the
sow:reigntyofFernandoPowouldbe threatened whenever the island removed itself
from the protective security umbrella of Spain. The Nigerian government was
apparently convinced that the reports ofilltreatment were euggerated since it was
logiCillly argued that if conditions were as bad as they were made outto be Nigerians
would not be going to Fernando Po either as contract labourers or as illegal
labourers smuggled into the island by the hazardous means of manually paddled
CiiDOCS. Finally, Nigeria was not the only interested African country that could lay
claim to Femando Po. The Camerouns which was nearer the island than Nigeria,
was up for partition, purchase or annexation. The campaign for annexation of
Femando Po which began in 1961 and reached its crescendo in 1965 and had its
affects on the government of the day.ln 1961 four Nigerians were shot in Rio Muni
by the local militai (known as tbeJuventuds). This forced the Federal Government
not only to lodge a strong protest but also to ask for permission to send a high-rank
ing dclogation led by the Federal Minister of Labour, ChiefModupe J. Johnson, to
visit Guinea. The delegation investigated the complaints of the workers
and recommended revision of the 1957 agreement. The visit resulted in further
amelioration of lahour conditions such as the permanent abolition of the Pass Law
which made it for all Nigerians to carry passes while moving about on
thel51and, the prohJbJtmnoflong detention without trial offenders
and finally by the Spanish authorities in Femando p
to paymenl
of m case.s of permanent or partial physical disab"lily Th Ni .
warned its critics after signing this agreement I which :as
m_ 1963, that further criticisms of Femando Po were i [ ag
'.he 5COSC thal constant emphasis on I he fact lhal N" n _act counler-
bered the J.DdJg<.'noUs people were bringing them into
Thll Dynamics ofNflllrirm qutllarial Gub:.e. Rllllfiotu 67

rtviCW as stipulalcd bylhc 1963 accord. anyfwtbcr
sco-pollucal dimCDsaons IQVOiving as in the FirSI llDd Scc:olld w Id w
slralqie localion oFemaodo Po in rclalinn In Nigeria. Brigadi lbc:
lht lirst Nigerians 10 be eommissKmcd as an officer in lhe then :ritish-lcd one or
was Consul to November 1966, no doubl

sympathy with !he Easlem Nigerian cause not only the immigrant mm-
mun.ity but also within the oR"Jcial circle as wr:ll.
Wilh the altainmCDt of indcpcadcncc by Equatorial Guinea in Odobcr 1968
Collowed by the withdrawal o Spanish ClpCrtise and managcmcal, workiq condt-
tions began to deteriorate on the island. Equatorial Guinea's to
wriggle oul o I his difficult Pll'ition by virtually repudiating the agrccmenl con-
cluded between NiJeria and Spanisb Guinea because. Francisco Maci;u Nguema,
the head or government in Equatorial Guinea, said that the labour agrcc:mcot was
ootiD line with his government's policies. Meanwhile, the civil war puvcn1cd any
rc-ncgotialion. During the civil war, wbcn Femando Po wu51ill a Spanish territory
the island was used by lhc lnlernational Red Cross and the Catholic Relid
Orpnisallion "caritas" to cny Cood and, u claimed by the Ni&crian authorilics.
and war malerial to "Biafra." Even when Equatorial Guioca auaiacd
sovereign &talus, inlernatinnal prC55Urc by France and the catholic World Will
mounted to force Fcmando Po 10 aranl COIICCiliion 10 lhcsc orei&a powers aad
organisations lo enjoy earo.-lcrritorial jurisdiction on tbc isl.Dd wilh the &OlD
purposcofhelpinglhesc.ccssionisJ: forces in Nigeria.
Guinea asked 1he Red Cr055and "Ciritu" to CCI5C ihcir opcrllions oflhe illand.
nis was followed by the c.slablishment of a telex link bctwccn Nigeria and
Equatorial Guinea at tbc Cllpcnst of Nigeria. A Federal Commislioncr, Al-baj
Aminu Kano laler visited the island in Oaohcr 1969 on behalf of the Federal
Military Government and President Francisco Maciu N111ema was giYcn a rmte
from the Nigerian bead of stale, General Yakubu Gowon, inviting the (ormcr not
to remgnisc Biafra and to pay an official visit to Nigeria. The Nigerian CQVO)' io
Santa Isabcl fek tbe innucn" of the Nigcrlan immigrant population oa tbe island
was so very importanl in foreign polic:y decision at least M it affcdcd Nigeria, tlur.l
he urged his home zOVCJDmeotto ask eilher Aothony Aliika, the Administralor of
the East Central State, or Dr. Numdi Azikiwc. the former head o( 5lille ol NiacrNI
68 MgrrratmdttslmmcdialcNttshbouiS
who had deserted the "Biafran" cause to join the Federal cause, to visit the
islondtownvincethe lgbo people that the Federal Government was not emharking
President 1_970 _when the war
was over bdorc coming on a state VISit to N1gena. By th_s t1me N1genan labourers
whose contracts had expired numbered about 30,000 m Santa lsabel which
been renamed Malabo by the nationalist government. The Equatorial Guinea

to make arrangements with the Nigerian Natinnal Shipping Line to
evacuate the stranded N1gcrians. The Nigerian governme.nt while paying part of
the bill the Equatorial Gui11ca'sgovcrnment to pay 1ts which was put
at N152,000,sJ but this bill was never settled. While thi.\ problem rem;1ined,
Equatorial Guinea approached the Nigerian government to review the 1963 agree-
ment. Negotiations were therefore commenced and as in 1%3 representatives of
both governments met in Lagos in January 1971 to the detaib of a new
agreement. This was signed on January PT72. The new agreement raised the
minimum ageofwnrkers from 18to 21, eliminated corporal punishment, increased
wages and capitation fees, provided for a minimum of Nlli per month in
and substantial daily food ration. The labourers were not to he subjected to
arbitrary arrest, or detentio11 for more than one month without trial. It was also
stated that when a Nigerian was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for an offence
under Equatorial Guinea law not recognised by Nigerian law, the worker involved
shall immediately be repatriated to Nigeria at his own expense.
The new agree-
ment provided for the setting up of a mixed commission of four, two from each
Country, to deal with breaches of the labour agreement. The Federal Government
also stated that tbe government or Equatorial Guinea should the fact that
they were not doing Nigeria a favour by employing a large number of Nigerians as
in their country and thatthegovernmentofEquatorial Guinea must accept
and 11 was_ accepted by them that they would bear full responsibility for any
co_ntravent10n of the agreement reached in Lagos on 29th April 1971. But the
emtence of clauses did not eliminate abuses, and the of
was m fact suspended in 1973 because of breaches of the 1971 agree-
t_o Guinea to
for labour and all those rC$ident in th p oblem facmg Ntgenans recruited
delegation was 110 more than .... a
1111: Dyllamic.r of Nigeriall EqrlDIOrial Gulllta RtlalrOIU 69
meted out to by officials and people of Equatorial Guinea ,,s, Th
result of this wa.s a revtewofthe agreement in 1974, buttheud

at Santa lsabcl_(Malabo): By 1974 when the agreement w::
labourers remamed for long periods up to six months or more:;: some

demanded to sec hts corpse he was prevented from doing so. The
authonttes tn Fcrnando Po seemed to have been angered by what they regarded as
Nigeria's meddlcsomencss in their internal affairs and they seemed determined to
put an end to this. The Nigerian community was subjected to all kinds of abuses
dimaxiug in the of the Labour Attache, Mr. 0. Ambah, and his family
on 27th February, 1975. The Labour Attache was ordered at gun point and
without previous notice to leave his house. On hearing this the Ambassador sent
two of his senior members of staff, Mr. Anjorin, the Principal Labour Officer, and
Mr. Odumusu, Head of Chancery, to investigate the cause of eviction and arrest of
the Labour Attache. The response of the Malabo government wa.oo the arrest of
both men and detention by the Police, although theyv.tre later released. A Nigerian
embassy car was seized on 23rd March, 1975 and the car was never found in spite

down in Fcrnando Po. But in fairness one must point out that the plight of Nigerians
as well as that uf the Bubi has become worse since independence. lt is one of the
humane treatment at the hands of Spanish authorities than at the hands of fellow
Africans. The regime of Francisco Macias Ngucma has been cbaraCieriscd by
brutality and police terror of which Nigerians have been among the vidi!IU). With
a deteriorating economy it clear that even the normal ad10inistrative functions
of government became difficult to carry out and the Jaw enforcing agenciCi!i beca10e
laws unto It was obvious therefore that Nigerians were no longer safe
in Fernando Po. With the planned withdrawal of Nigerians from Fcrnando Po
which ended early in February 1976, Nigeria decided to cut economic ties with
Equatorial Guinea. During the evacuation the government used not only her
merchant navy but also and air force planes apparently to demonstrate
that any overt ad of brutality departing Nigerians would not be tuleratcd.
The combined air and sea operation to evacuate about 25,000 Nigerians remaining
on the and the amount involved in rcsettlelncnt cost the government about
The read ion of the Nigerian press was predid.ablc. One newspaper commen-
tator advocated military action or economic strangulation or both. lt went on that
70 Nigttifl and iu Neighbours
. . n must be rcle:ased along with others for the pur
aD entitlements of Nigerians must be

placed Nigerian diplomatic from Lagos and that if EquatOrial
. molesled those sent .... then the exodus should be
by combined teams of Nigerian army .... " The paper also called far
;:c apology by Equatorial Guinea and the of co.rnrcns.ation
to the families of those who had been m Equatorml Gumea. Other
editorial opinions said the time for repnsals had at last come_, and that " ... no

to most oflhe N" rian dailies called for military ad ion against "thi.'i Hitler
of Equatorial other newspapers put the whole of Nigerian
migrant labour in wider perspective. They referred to the scnes of humiliations
JDCted to Nigerians in Ghana, Zaire, Gabon, Cameroun, Dahomey, Sudan and
Saudi Arabia, and c.allcd on the government to repatriate these people back to
Nigeria, as one of the editorials put it," ... in these countries they constitute a
potential target [or possible future abUK . .'.60The government was quick to point
out that the position of Nigerians in each of llle countries cited above was different
from that of Equatorial Guinea, that there was no c.ause for alarm, that many ohhe
so-called Nigerians io these countries had acquired foreign citizenship and that
.sbould they want or be forced to come home normal services would be
provided; but that io the case of Equatorial Guinea, Nigerians were faced with
possible physical liquidation which the government was oot going to allow.
Many people io Nigeria wcrc dissatislied with the failure of the nUlitarygovem
ment to deal with Fcrnaodo Po militarily. But it seems the government was using
the economic weapon to achieve the same end. The government was aware of the
fact that with tile )a!;! or ship-load of Nigerians leaving. Fcrnando Po begins
the process of cconom1c dcc:line and imminent bankruptcy. Shortage or labour was
to lead to the cocoa, coffee and banana plantations reverting back to bush.
Tb11 would put Femando Po back into the stagnant situation or 1900s when all
collapsed as a result or labour shortage. With prosperity
at home m ariSing from the oil boom and the massive development and
;n7ntive to seek employment in
emigration, other West Africans hiVe been a:; be a source or
nc1gbbours mcludmg Fernando p0 itself Fern nd p om Olher Impoverished
to attrad labour from other West a
was going to find it difficult
against NigcrillllS was widely published si.Dcc the brutality
to use her inOucncc to prcventlabourc:S from W
:r":" Was then strong enough
to work in Femando Po. The result of this was the countries [rom going
me In Fcmando Po and the
T1rc Dyllanucs of Nigcnar Equatorial Gubrea R.e/alians 71
revenue to her from the plantations.was no longer available
meet. the
day-today requrrements o.f government. Thrs eventuality was bound to lead to
uphe.aval on rsland. was already growing opposition to the
sadist re .Fnancrsco .M a eras Nguema regr.me the remnants of the indigenous Bubi
populatrun of rsland were demandmg drssolution of the Union with Rio Muu.i
where the came The Fang the Mainland seem to have taken
over power and the notlrkely to accept this indefiu.ite\y.lf they
would, tl.rey would be the first m to accept permanent subjection to an alien
to Camerouns and with which has been condueti!IS a
runmng propaganda campargn.lt would be rn the mterest of Nigeria to be in toueb
with these two governments in case this unnatural union called Equatorial Guinea
dissolves into its natural and separate geographical entities. In this case Nigeria,
knowing fully well that Femando Po would need her labour, technical how-how
and above all economic aid, should be in a strong position to edge Femaodo Po
into union with Nigeria. The force of strategy demands no less an action if Nigeria
must play a role in the sub-region commensurate with her size. population,
economic resources and power. One thing that is cenain is that Nigeria cannot for
long allow this noating dock of an island, strategically positioned, to fall into the
hands of enemies of Africa. The transfer of the voice of America transmitters from
Kaduna from where they were upelled by the Murtala Muhammed/Obasanjo
government to Fernando Po raises the question about the potential danger this
island poses to Nigeria. There was also evidence of increasing Chinese presence6t
on the island, but it not going to be difficult for Nigeria to deal with either China,
the Soviet Union or the United States firmly over Fernando Po. There might come
a time when America's dependence on oil from Nigeria.might be used as
quid pro q1w to their withdrawing from Fernando Po. The Chinese and the Soviets
would not forfeit their friendship with Nigeria in order to win that of a transient
state like Equatorial Guinea. What is clear is that Nigeria has a role to play in the
future of Fernando Po, but the question to ask is whether Nigeria has the will, the
skill and the men to make sure that the fate of Fernando Po is not decided in
Washington, Moscow or Beijing, and now Pretoria but in Lagos.
What constitutes the modern Republic of Equatorial Guinea is made up of the
islands of Fern an do Po (Macia Nguema) Corisco, Annobon, Elobey Grande, and
Elobey Gluco and the Rio Muni on the mainland between the of the
Camerouns and Gabon. The total area is about 128,060 sq. mrles. ThiS area,
although claimed by the Portuguese since the 15th w_as.not incorporated
into the Spanish empire until the hey days of European of
the 19th and opening years of the 20th centuries. The BrrUsb colonral admimstra-
tion in Nigeria realised the strategic of the Island of femando Po to
the well-being of Nigeria but because the Bn.tls.h had command of the
Atlantic. it was prepared to let the island remam m Spanish hauds as long as Bnlaln

111e asser1ion rrol and iDOueaceovcr Femando Po.Furthel"lrlore the
islaod r:aincd for a Ions cime in rhe of rhe John Holt
CCOIIOIIIY rcas of the island under cocoa planta11on were owned by
Brilish Bul inOucnce
libc ha bccauseofchislheSpanishaulhOZ"liiC5roundJtco:nvcnJenlloplayol(

1901 made

Zanzibar while 1he Germans held Tangan)'lkD mamland.
Nigeria _ Fcmando Po rclalions during 1he avil war years, as was lhe case
durin&: 1he first and 1he Scrond"Woz-ld Wass geo-polilical dimensions.
Unlike in the IWO previous connicls I he con1cnd1ng parlles were not two Europcao
powers hul in ibis car-e il was indcpcndcnl island. oll tbe
Cua.sl uf Nigeria and chc Camcrouns. The N.gcr1an authonllC5 knowmg the
51raCqio; importance of Fcmando Po p051ed IS consul Brigadier Basscy of the
Nigerian army lo lhc island. AI the lime of his arrival at Sanla lsabcl, IS Slalcd
earlier, 1here were about 100,000 people on the island or Fernando Po 85.000 o[
lbc5c were Niscrians aad out n this over-whelming Nigerian population 56.6
pcrccn1 were Jgbo.
This of course meanl 1ha1 the oflicial and unoflicial opinion
in 1he island was pro-Biafra.In CSSCJICC in the wars from 1914-18, 1939-45, and
the civil war or 1967- 1970 Nigerian authorities were ora:d to protect iiS soft
U11dcrbclly from 1he dagger poinlcd at it from Fcrnando Po.
Perhaps because ofthe diplomatiecomplications which the NigcrianJBiafra c:iv:il
war posed loSpain, Fernando Po and Rio Muni and I he other smnlllslets became
an1ndcpcndcnl Repuhlie ofEqualori11l Guinea in 1968 - under a government led
by Fernando Macias Ngucma. Before lhis lime the ca1hoJic: relicC organisation
"Caritas' had conver1cd lhe island into a noatingdock for Biah supply. The French
govcrnmcnl which provided covert mililary aid for Biara also used the island to
ferry weapons, ammuniti011 and supplies 10 Biara in spite o inCCSADt prot.csl by
Nigeria. The role or Fernando Po could no1 have been otherwise: in a war diat was
prcscnled IO Europe by the Biafran propaganda led by the Geneva based publicity
outfit 'Mark Press' as a war between M11Siim Nigeria ud CalholicBiafra. Christian
Biafra's 011ly was os a small counlry jusllyslruggling to be free.
It lherefore rcqu11c:d considerable pressure, c:.ojoling and offer of financial assis-
lance the government could end lhe offensive operations. ne Spa.a..isb
pJantat1on owners from 1970s onwards began to withdraw rro the

economy collapsed and In order lo be on top of affairs the head or slate after
The Dynamics of Nigcnan Equalarial Gurnca Rdmroru 73
changing the name oft he is_land "Macias Nguema" after himself
and Santa the to Malaho" to no apparent efft embarked
wholesale_ massacre of his Most of those massacred the Bubi wbo
were the of the ISland. The Fan,: mainlander.; Rio Muni
where the
even the diplomatic The effect of this was the evacuation in 1975 oflS,OOO

February 1976 of the Head of State, General Murtala Muha.mJiled,jtW; at the lilne
the evacuation ofNigeriaDS from Fernando Powas completed. But for the accideDt
of history it would have been impossible for the governmeDt of Nigeria togoagallw.
the jiogoistic campaigns against the island ofFernando Po mounted by the Nigerian
press. The suspicion of in the assassination of
General Mwtala Ramat Muhalllllled led to cooliog of relations betweeu N"ageria
and those two countries. The general resentment against the United States led to
the closure by the Nigerian government of the Voice of America's traiiSmitters in
Kadu.na. The Americans, as if to rub salt into Nigeria's wound& and with the
collllivao.ce of cash strapped Equatorial Guinea, installed the transmitter.; removed
from Kaduna at Malabo. This aga.io. u.nder-scored the strategic importance of
Femando Po to Nigeria.
The recent aUeged construaion of 1 South African air/oaYlll base in Femando
Po has finaUy brought the future relation of Nigeria to thi.s island squarely to the
fore of Nigeria's foreign policy.
Colonel Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Supreme Military Council
of Equatorial Guinea came to power on Jrd August, 1979 when be put an eo.d to
the brutal and murderous dictatorship of his uncle, President Macias Npema. The
new ruler promised to rule for three years before returning the country to eoostitu
tional rule. Little did be know that he had a herculean task. The economy was ill
ruiDs and the sovcreigo.ty of the country was threatened when Spa.iD tried more or
less to rccolonise the country by demanding control of the ministries of Defea.cc,
Education, Agriculture, Health and Ecoo.omie Development. As a counter poise
to Spanish pressure the Equatorial Guinea President asked for immediate eniarsc
meat of the Nigeria mission and ako entered io.to 1 joiot coiDIDi.Won agreement
with Nigeria in April1982. Tbisjoio.t conun.issioneovered:
(a) Culture
(b) Commerce
(c) Mercbant marine
(d) Telceommwlication&.PostaiScrvices
(e) Agric:ukurc
(f) Friendship and good neighbourliness
74 Nigtlill iU tmmtdialt /kifhlloun

wiU be lopsidedly in favour of Nigeria. But perhaps lh
Equa!orial a_waca_ c
Gu.incans wanted was the friendship and good ne.,:
IIIOSI inlcrcstlllg thmg they bad signed with all their neighbours. They Were
oldcvelopmc:nl aid of300 million dollar:; for three yea
not from Nigeria alone but rr?m all countries. r$
(J9B2 . d UNDPsponsorcd conference was held m Geneva m 1982 in which
in conve)'in& Quin_c:an team to Geneva in an aircrart
::u:d at the instance of the Equatonal govern.ment. or the
importance which Equatorial Guinc:a was assumtng. on 2Stb
tbru !982 set up 1 Presidential Task F01c:c: OD Equatonal Gutnca. Initially,
=c tu7iorcc was faced with implement_ing the deeisioo to N"Jgetia's
mission in Equatnrial Guinea, regular of the: Oas_ by N.gc:nan Navy and

Sui perhaps the most impol1aot aspc:d oi the: task force work was to ncutraW;e the
innucncc of Spain in Equa101ial Guinea and this she did by rescuing the govern-
ment of Equatorial Guinea from total dependence OD Spain. This task was aided
by multilateral effort $pearhcaded by the UNDP whicb was able to put a total
padlag.: of aid of 71 million dollars at the disposal of the Equatorial Guincan
singlehandedly proposed to c:sbblish tek:pbonc: links between Malabo
and other places such as Luba and Moka oo the island of Bioko at a paltry sum of
about half a million doUII'L Unfortunately this commitment f"cllthrough because
olchc collapse of chc world oil market and ill disastrous effect on the Nigerian
eaHIOmy. The Nigcrian-Equat01ial Guinea reJacion has beeR charaderised by
missed opportunities. For eumplc when Colonel Mbasogo beld a referendum to
nM:rt his military diclaton;hip into a civilian prcsideacy, he invilcd President
Shapri to install him as President oo Oc:tobet 12, 1982 but lhis golden opportunily
was DOl seized with two hands. This wouJd have been an opportuniry to
dea1Dn5trate lhat Equatorial Guinea was a client stale. But apparently Presideat
Sbapri wu advised against this becluse the refueadum result was disputed.
NeverthcJcss Nigeria did nol bavea viable alternative to Mbasago. Evc.a though it
ka?W". that the Bubis of Bioko WCftl unhappy with him and were
tnclac:d lo rebellion f they c:ouJd find a credible leader there was no such leader
and even wasvirtuallyboyc:ottedio Luba the second largest
town on .the of Btoko there was general acquiescence with Coloucl
s lt could_ not have been olhetwisc, considering the brutaJit of
a brucalttythatwustillveryfresh in the miDdsofaU Equac!al
The i>ytiMdCS of Nigerirm Eqt4GIOrilll Guit!ttl Rt4uimu ?S

of Equatorial as offer o( assistance not only by the traditional

the Soviet Union 50, North offered to train some anoy companies, a..:.

ofplanmng and admuustrat100. Even the Camerounlans and Gaboncse DOl
left behind, with Yaounde training Equatorial Guinea diplomats wbilc Ubreville
also entered into a joint commission with Equatorial Guinea. Ev.:n while aU thi$
was hap(JCning President Mbasogo through Nigeria's mission in Malabo conti.ouc4
Nigeria was so weighed down by its internal problems that she could nO( possibly
have any territorial ambitions on Equatorial Gui.oca. Even though Vice President
AICJC Ekwuemc visited the island and the mainland for the installation in October
1982 of President Mbasogo, Nigeria's attitude to Equatorial Guinea was charac-
terised by caution. Although President Shagari himself aco::cpted to visit Equatorial
take plaec. Apart from the question ofstruetUTal and security inadequacies in
Equatnrial Guinea, the Nigerian President was also pre-occupied with re-clcaioo
bccall5e his four year term which commenced in 1979 was then comins to an end.
Unless a major problem affecting Nigeria's security happened in Equatorial
Guinea, the question of a visit therefore out of the question.
But the human prohlcm of contact between two neighbouring oouotric:l; coo
tinued to rear head. The question of recruiting labour in Nigeria for the
rehabilitation of cocoa pla11tation.\ in Equatorial Guinea c.ame up s.cvcral times for
discussion. This was so because early in 1984thc Equatorial Guinea
government issued a decree on the reclamation of abandoned properties in
Equatorial Guinea. Sinu: these properties were mostly properties of Nigerians,
people in the traditional recruitingg.rounds Nigeria began to
show interest in going to Equatorial Guinea to claim back their properties and also
lo search for jobs. The down turn in the Nigerian economy all.o made the work of
illegal recruitment of labourers easy. The whole operation in 1984 was bcins
co-ordinated by one Italian Senor Julio who opcratctl under the code name
with the port of Or on as the centre of his Labourers were
bci.og rccru..ited to work on the cocoa farms for a paltry sum of NRO for a month
which was inadequate to keep hody antl soul together by Equatorial Guinea living
slalldard. Attempts were made to stop thi.!. illegal smuggling of
the government averse to s.ceing a return to the pre-1976 Mtua\IOD
when: Nigerians were ueated as beasts of burden. The new miMion was
/mmedirne Ntifhboll"

thcN"IgCriangovcrnmeDttried to persuade itscitizcru;

Ill fide
situatioll iD Nigeria from 1984 onwards continued to .
iaall directions. The rnig:ralion to _EquatoriaJ Guinea one
of ouiWird pusb by an qgre&SIVC who siiDed Under the
IMFiDspired slructural adjustrnCDI liS redUction or labour force
in lhe public sector, reduction of subs1d.es and sca.l1ng down of all social welfare
wbo wished to risk lives whil_c lcrried into Bioko

problCIM. To obviate tbis probbns Col Mbasogo, the Prcs1dent on January 2nd
1985 took Equatorial Guinea into the FriUic zone and subsequenlly bcca111c
IIICDibcr of the French assisted Central African Economic and Customs Unioa..
The immediate eiJcct. of this was that the local currcac:y Bipkwclc was replaced by
Ceauai African Francs aDd lbus the local currcacy ceased to have value. ne
iauocdiate impact of this moDCCarych;mgc was the sudden rise iu the cosl of 8oods
and scrvioes by up to 85%. Even though salary increases were approved but they
were not tmDmcnsurale with the rate ofinDalion. This moPetaJy cbangc was also
accompanied by uni'Ciitraincd 5111ugling oi goods and victuals into EquatoriaJ
Guiocamainly from Niscria. Apparently exploiting the situationsomcdisgruntlcd
elements .,;thin the armed forces tried to overthrow the govcrnmenL While
touringthcProvi.ncc ofRioMuni, a group of discontented soldiers led by Col. Mba
2nd Vice-Prime Minisler and Obiang Ngucma's uncle allcmpted to seize
paM:r. This curious111isadvcnturewhidl was undertaken with the coUaboralion or
UcutCII.Inl Mba Esono Alejaadro, 2nd in command orthe rnililary detachment in
Bata and younger brother of Colonel Mba Onana was uncovered and aborted by
joint Morocx:an and French security forces. The death toll in this abortive coup
was!ll and reprisals were sure and swift with the culprits being shot. ne problems
ofEquatorial Guinea were maay. There was hardly any private eslablishmenl and
the. public SCGior was so unwicldly that salaries were rarely paid on time. The
was also weak and because of its reliance on international aid, the country
did relapse. to the barbarism oft he previous regime when dissenl wu met with
and brutality. As long as the political and economic siluation ia
Equatonal o_u1nca remained in this parlous state the Equatorial Guinea govern-
men! would at any straw in order to keep aDoat. The government was
therefore making dcspc.ratecfforts to secure food, financial assistaJiee and any kind
ohustenanccfrornasdiSparatcagroupofeountriensEgypt Tog S d" A b"
_Yupslaria. and c;vcn Soulh Africa. The lirst inkling ora.
ID Equatonal Gumca came on the wake of the abortive d' P cse oe
of the The South Africans were initially and
opcrat1ons bu1 by the second half or 1986theywcre
71c [ly>lamic.r of Nigcriall Equatorial Guillta Rtlalioru n
fo! clearly
this new situalion, the Nigerian government quickly
posed to Nigeria's security in view of our past neglect

enough for Nigeria's Ambassador but the way out would have been ton_ g
these living But for the fact the defence section of the :rove
continued to funct1on on the ground, senous security gaps in our information a:
Equatorial Guinea would have been created. It was perhaps because oh he sudden
realisation ofthc security problem of Nigeria's relation to Equatorial Guinea that
the former defence Attache Nary Captain F. B. J. Porbeni was appointed Nigeria's
Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. On receiving his mCMage about South Africa's
presence in Equatorial Guinea, the Ambassador was asked to enquire about the
possibility and desirability of:
(a) Sea manoeuvres involving ships of the Nigerian Nary and tho.o;c of Equatorial
(b) involving Nigerian airforce planes and Guincan nary ship
(c) Anyothermanoeuvresthatmightbedeemednec::asarybyEquatnria\Guinea
underamilitaryunderstandingandeo-opcration withNigeriawhic::bbadled
The Equatorial Guinean authorities obviously acting on advice from her newly
found friends rejected out of hand the idea of joint militaryuercises. But even then
the heat was on the Equatorial Guineans especially from the Nigeriaa prCM.
Ambassador Porbeni was called by the foreign ministry of Equatorial Guinea to
comment on several newspaper headlines alleging the presence of South Afrians
in Equatorial Guinea. The Ambassador tried to explain that the government of
Nigeria was not in control of the press and that the Nigerian press in their patriotic
duty was free to comment on an )thing that touches the well being of their country.
The Equatorial Guineans however denied the presence of South Africans on their
soil and the Nigerian envoy was $Cheduled to $CC the President of Equatorial
Guinea at their own insistence, but this was later cancelled apparently because o(
pressure on the President not to kowtow completely to Nigeria. HOWC'Ier, the
Equatorial Guinean government decided to itnd a high powered
delegation to see President Ibrahim Babangida and explain the situation to b.im.
The Nigerian envoy on the spot put our problematic relations with Equatorial
Guinea on our tardiness as a nation. He raised several thought provoking questiom
about the missed opportunitie.s. He asked why Nigeria did not have a re.sideat
Amha'l..o;.ador in Malabo for ten years until1986. Wbereu Camerouns omd Gabon

scheduled for Lagos smcc 1983 had nol me1 aod lhc r 11& of
10 1
raiasoli1C: of their diplomalli in Lagos
o(lhc h o:.C,golialcd and signed agrccmcnls on shipping. POSt I Dot
lakeD services were ill abcya.nc:c. ne request for lbc s:l::
ICieuul od clS
Equa1orial Gunca was also aborted as a result of lack
!he Nigerian cad. Evca tbepromiscofa milli?A
:f..e offered by Nigeria during tbc Donors Equatoral GuiDCa Was
lllllllladcavailablc. for u 1.982onwards.
but for national security and palrwuc reasons of Ngcna could haVe
c oflbc privalc airlines in the counuyto Oy Into Malabo once a WCck
iaslcad orallowins 1hc Frcneh airli.nc to s1cal ne way Nigeria hili

scriou.snCM bur long on diplornal'sslruggle for po.mnp and conference atlcndanee
allbc cxpe.w: ofgDVI:mmcnls ia such uaimagi.nable pJaccs in the world including
Prcsidcnl Mbusogo visil:cd Nigeria in January 1987 and many of these outstand-
ing issuCli disc:uSKd with him at lhe highest level. President Mbasogo was
Wawa Nigeria, especially the airforcc base in Makurdi,the Nigerian army instaJ.
Jatio.DS io Kaduna and lhe NIY)' base in Lagos. He was no doubt imprcs.sed by the
lilllgllagc of not saying much but saying evcrylhing. The question o( economic aid
was raised and promises were made lo him. Bulthe question of a defence pacl wilh
him was raised and discussed and answer was awailcd from him al'lcr reaching
Malabo. conlinucdto be rcasonabJygood 1ha1 in May 1987,thc
Equat01i111 Guincan President requested for an aircraft to carry his dcJegation to
lhc 23ld OAU meeting in Addis Ababa. Even lhougb the aircraft was provided,
lhc GuiDCIIn head of stale Cor personal reasons did not make the journey. His
delegation led by his forcip minister Marcelino Ngucma Onguenc made the
journey and had a private session with ProfcssorBolajiAkinycmi, Nigeria's forclga
minister lo llSiiUrc him of his country's friendship towards Nigeria as wcll as to invite
him to visit Malabo as SOOD as possible. Akinycmi quickly took up the offer and
Mr. Mareelino the Equatorial Guincaa foreign minister
welcomed Prof .. Akinycm1, and dcsmbcd Nigeria-Equatorial Guincan relations as
cxa:Ucnl: He said lhatthe two acighbouring countries share an identily of opiaion
on wues notably for Namibia, opposition to aPartheid Soutb
Afnca, '.uppon f'": convcang an intemalional coafcrcncc on the debt roblem
the Th1rd .. Rclerringto the lastjoiot commission held
enumerated the following
TI1e Dynamics af Nigoitlll Gulllu RelanOIU
(a) !he
(b) teacl!ers wilb each being deployed lo
a CYC:ry
(d) Line of credit by the government of Equatorial Guinea.
to Abuja.
Prof. Akinyemi agreed with his Guinean counterpart about shared values and
parties. Akinyemi then called on Equatorial Guinea to join hands with Nigeria in
stand on apartheid. He said the disagreement between Nigeria and Equatorial
theensuingfavourableatmospherewould encourage Nigerian priwte
On specific issues, Profe.s.sor Akinyemi replied:
(a) That lhe ongoingTeehnieal Aid Corps Scl!eme in Nigeria would take careo(
Equatorial Guinean's request for teachers. What Wll5 required was for
Equatorial Guinea to make her request and also guarantee accommodatioo
for the number of teachers requested for.
(b) On the line of credit requested, Prof. Akinyemi announced that the Nigerii.D
ministry of Finance and the Central Bank had given their approwl and that
it was left In the appropriate Guinean authority to submit to Nigeria the list
of articles which were needed from Nigeria against the line of credit.
(c) With request to moving the Equatorial Guinean Embassy toAbuja,Akinyemi
said land would be made available on the reciprocity. He al&osaid the
Federal Government would build some chanceries which can be rented by
countries that were unable to build their ehancerie5 immediately ia Abuja.
(d) On shared views on international problems, Prof. Akinyemi said this should
be reflec:ted in joint meetings about strategy whether at the OAU or at the
Even tbougb the Equatorial Guineans did not know that Professor Akinyemi'
visit had been planned on a short notice because or the information received io
I...agos that the El]uatorial Guineans wanted to the Nigerian Navy training
teams base in Malabo, he told his Equatorial Guinean counterpart that such a
would wrong signals., but the Equatorial Guinean foreign said they
did not plan such a move especially had generously
donated a navaluaining boat to Equalunal Ciumea and had also !.CD! a te.am In
train the El]uatorial Guineans. The confusion claimed Sen.or Marcelino "W1L!. due
to tbe fad that they were under the impression that "?nted to bandovt;r
the payments for the service to an impecunious El]uatonal Gume.a.
Nfgtrialllld ;u /mmtditlle Neighbours
EvencuaUy, lhe Equacorial Guinea government by che end or
N' Naval ralinp 1o withdraw because or Ccar or Nigerian in\111 . asktd
or Nigerian callins or military
Guinea. By the end or 1987 lnlclll.gcnce rcpor1 on Equatoral Guinea
uring. The faces or the situation was as Collows. lltas not
rca;.e repor1 confirmed that a cere aiD DaYid Hilton was nmre
Eqlllltorial Guinea as Souch ACrica's 'h"fF He had
"embassy'' ]oc:alcd oo a major avenue iD the Guinean capita
Equalorial Guinea date back to a couple or years when he opened a "ranch" .
Mola. He was later joined by a team of South Aftican ranchers at Moka,
kilomeues away from Malabo.ll was generally bcJievcd thac the ranch sei\ICd
11 a cover eo a missile base or South ACricao mililary observation station
would permit Souch Africa to c:oatrol the entire Gulf oBiafra. This of course war,
POI the first cime Coreip oati011als bad been injcclcd into Equatorial Guinea. la
the pas1, there bad been all kinds of foreign nationals namely Americans, Chinese,
Koreans and Russian opcrativu. AU the communisl.s bad left beore the advent of
che Souch African's. The Equatorial Ouincans cootiaued to maiatain their ignorant
innocence about the CJCistence of South Africans located in the "Holy VaUics."
However, where the dynasty of the "King Bioko" of the BubisstiU lives was well
known to lhc intelligence community. What was ool koowa was the use the South
Africaru; wanted to put their hold OD Moka to. SoDIC Cell it was lo assist South
Afriam aircral'ts on lheit loogjouroeys from Johannesbursto Europe. This was
noll5enscs because Soulh Africa was alreadyenjoyins Ibis throush the c:o-operalion
ofC&pe Vcrdc,Jvory Coast, GabOD, Central Africa Republic, Malawi and Zaire.
If ic was for mere commercial air operation the banning of Ambassadors or a
selected group of counlrics includins Nigeria from visitins Moka was instructive.
Furthermore, lhc Ni&crian Ambassador was restricted along with others to 15
kilomccrcs from Malabo.
Apart from Moka, it was also obvious that the South Arric:ans were using the
harbour at Luba (formerly San Carlos) a very wide natural harbour which is ideal
fnr a submarine base, for transhipping of gunds into and out of Bioko. The South
African's presence by 1988 was an established fact. They arrived in 1985 or 1986.
raised a modem ranch in vaUics of Moka South of the island of Bioko., SS
kdomelrcs away from Malabo. Several unmarked and unrcsistered hercules planes
laoded al Malabo. ?irpor1 varinus tons of cargoes. These cargoes
were off loaded 1nlo huse m1btary vehicles driven by South African young soldiers.
Most of the heavy vehicles were shipped to Luba port about40 kilometre to Moka
andfromwhc:retheymovcdwherevertheydcsiredonthelsland M
the leader oflhe African Spanish he::

several years rcs1dent m Argcntma wh1ch until reo:ntJy had only co-operated

with fascist in Europe but ab.o embraced the racist regime ia Pretoria. In

;aisc eau in the cool of_Moka suco;alt wn ha:::.dc.ar:: a:
south Afncans had a radm equipment to keep in contact with Malabo aod
South Africa. The freedom wh1ch theSouthAfrieansenjO)'W.in Equatorial GW.U:.
was allegedly due to the fact that they had paid 20 million dollars into tbe private
The cresa:ndo reached a head by April 1988 and the IICW

from the foretgn mmiStry. The delegatton Including the writer saw South African
fighter aircrafts parked on MalabQ airport. After being kept in the
for a whole day, the President finally gave audience to General.lke
Nwachukwu. General Nwachukwu impressed on the President that the presence
of South Africans, civilian or military was unacceptable to Nigeria. Col. Mbasogo
finally owned up ands;aid some South Africans, ab<;tut four in number came tofann
in his country. He also u.id thcyhadenteredwithlrish, Sw\!;s, Argentinian and
British pa5Sports. He said if he had been warnedbeforebyhis "'brother" Babangida
be would never have fallen into their trap. He promised that they would soon be
Cllpclled. But tot he dismay of the delegation his foreign minister Senor Marchelino
Nguema Ongweno denied again the presence of South Africans in Bioko and be
had to be sharply reminded by General Nwaehukwu that as a foreign minister he
should not be seen to be contradicting his head of e. Nigeria put tremendous
pressure on the EljUatorial Guineans, particularly at the liberation committee of
the OAU in Harare and at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the OAU in Addis
Abaha in \9118. were tabled and endor:.c:d by the OAU to condemn
any overt or covert relations with South Africa by member r.ta\es. Within a period
of four month\, three Nigerian dclegatiOrL\ visited Bioko. A military delegation tbat
was supposed to go however rduscd by the Equatorial GuineaM on the
South Africans had been expelled from Bioko. Nigeria enlisted the support of
friendly countries like Zaire and the CameroUIL\ to put pres.sure on Equatorial
Guinea. Whether these pressures have worked or not is a moot 4uestion. What is
however certain is that Equatorial Guinea is very unlikely in future to enter into
agreements which may dirct11y or vicariou_\ly threaten the of Nigeria.
Diplomacy ha.\ worked for now and the government of Nigena in o[ what i!.
an obvious provocation trcmcmlou\ restraint. rewaint may actual-
ly be due to several factur\. A 1mlitary government may be UIL\Ure t.he o[

Nigeria's nerenu Policy
What then are the policy implications? To fully understand this, it will he necessary
to discuss Nigeria's perception of threat to her security in the future and what to

established as dcterming the future or Nigeria's deJcnce policy.
The naiUrc of our frontier!;, the relative size and wealth of our have
some effects on our defence system. Nature has made it that we enjoy the
advantage!> of population, wealth and perhaps power over our ncighboun. with
whom we sh:uc common boundaries. While some of us may be quite satisfied
to accept this situation or query our need for Slnmg armed forces, it may be
necessary to remind those who may like to hold this view that our neighbours
arc also IIWirc ohhis situation and the subsequent effects it may have on their
The options open lo them are to accept our hegemony which

policy, whichever they may decide to choose., it is bound to have effects
(b) NtllmiiResuurct::
I r . Ni .
DIUSI COnlinUc IO teali.w tbat abunda.nt IIOUrCC.S r agg:rCSSIOil, lgcna
sound industrial base are ncce&sary.
&""", raw malcnals and
Tile Dytlumks of Nigmarc Eq!lUIDrial Rdalums 83
(t} Populutiou:

(d) Teclmologicaf S/UJidlUd:
Modern military operations require sophisticated annament and skilled man-
power to operate them. The credibility of our armed forces in the 1980s will
be dependent on their technical proficiency. Lack of technical proficiency in
muscled manpower as a subs!itute to sophistication in weaponry.
(e) The 01aracrcr of our People:
give up faster than othersintheeventofconfrontationwithasuperioror
determined force. The staying power of our will is dependent on a number of
social, political ami ideological factors which are so complex that they can be
prone to miscalculations. Given this situation ourbestapproaehwillbeto
always assign low "weight age" to our own forces lllld higher to our po!ential
enemies during the states of our defence planning but to demand from the
armed forccsthewilltoexeeuteourplansdespitetheseeming.lyapparent
(/) PofilicalSystcm:
of breaking our national will becomes e!!lrcmely slim. lt is important to beat
in our minds th:u our armed forces can only sustain long operation if they
(g) Commurucutwn aud Transpolfalrorr:
Armed forces make e!!lensivc ru.e of roads, rails, water air and teleeom-
muniortion networks during operations. The of these systcrm
as prc.sently available in the country and mobility to
armed forces during tactiorl and operat1ons. The gOVI:rnment s
determination to continue the improvements on cornmuoication and
transportationsy.;tcm in the country will be good assetstoour defence system.
military superiority over our. in the West
African sub-region may render leadership le.<os rmportant, lhe
relationship between our civilian leaders and the m1lrt:uy commandcn, the
The foregoing ,1rticuJ.otJOn of Nigeria's ddcoce pohcy _mform wba.tevcr
recommcnd:otiononcc.lnmJkeun rclatoonWJth astrategcally

Adantic"fronticr." m the study quoted above, our 1n
dclcr tend to cul!ivatc the friendship of a powerful patron, Nigeria,
Gabon and the Republic of the Cameroun:; arc the three countnes mw.t directly
mterested m the future of Equatorial Guinea. R1o Muni contiguous boun-
daries with both the Camcrounsand Gabon, while thclsland Fcrnando Po (Bioko)
policy, Nigeria must therefore take account ofthercsporu;cto our move by the
Camerouns and Gabon Jnd their patron France.
At the best of times Nigerian-Camcrouns relations have been characterised by
(i) France's of Nigeria's ambition as a dominant regional power
and the general characteristic of French politics especially
during the Prcsiden<..y of Ocncral Charles de Gaullc. General de Gaulle
seemed to cxteml his ;tnli-English sentiments to all Anglophone countries
(ii) Tile tliscnvcry of oil in Omnncrdal quantities in the uncharted Riodd
Rey where the hound My between Nigeria and the Camerouns was and
(iii) The personality of rormer Presitlent Ahidjo. Ahidjo was widely known
lo have his origin in Nigeria's Adamawa emirate and Kano ;md ::apparenlly to
pro": hi_s Camcrnun\ n;1tinnality he was unnecessarily very hostile
to NccnJ. Hts made him a pawn in the hands of the French
Although the C.nncrnuns was not a member of the French
Commumty(Cmmmmawe Froucaw!) the equivalent of the Commonwealth of
n.aunns, ofdcliherate policy and as a concession to Western
of it nevertheless had a military pact with
fora:srcmarned ntheCamerouns after independencx:, al
. Tlre.DyullmitsofNigerillllqullrOI1aiGuU.ca-Re/Qcrotn 1?6

stated that the Camerouns of all former French . Olad. lt1111151 be

Nations; Franco-Camcrounian
and Qlrrency (the Cl'
was by Paid
same close relations with France under Biya as it was was the
an aborlivc coup U'ctat on 4th April, 19M. This QJUp
people from the Northern part of the Camcrouns aEF:rentl by
Ahidjo with coven French support. W"rth
the dissrdents Paul moved fil.\tto replace the French with Israelis as his main
Kippur war of 1973 was consumatcd by a Camcrounran-lsracli military pa<;t,
following the visit to Yaounde bySimon the hracli Prime Mimster in 1986.
Paul Biya to a new generation of Camcrouni.m He is a
nationalist who places Camcrounian interest a hove th,rt ul France and the rw of
The questions to ask then are: WouhJ the Camcroun't>ul up with
of a South African base in Fernaodo Po'! Is South presence in Fernando
Po part of the demanded by Israel knowing how dose lsrad and South
Africa have been over the years? Does the Camcrounian government want to deter
Nigeria by being in league with hreal openly and with South Ahicacovcnlythroug.h
their proJO;yin Equatmial Guinea? Would public opinion in theCamerouru.support
this obviously Machiavellian policy of dinning with the devil as loag as
Camerounian intcrc't 11mtccted? What would the Camcnmru; gain if it pushes
Nigeria into a war ewer fcrnando Po? Nigeria's official status :u B frontline state

Fcrnando Po a casu:; belli as the presence of USSR's missiles in Cuba in \962
posed direct threat to the r.ccurity of the United States.
The situation caDs for direct with the Camcrouru; w that there is M
miscalculation on tbat government's part. 11 quite clear that Equatorial Guinea
would not embark on such a dangcwus
perhaps approving it. The Camcrouru; would !hen have to be _told tbat
unacccp:ablc:. Nigeria must also use her considerable kYcragc
France and with Israel which inspite of severance of diplomatic ties doG co.wd-
erab1e business in Nigeria. Spain the former imperial power in Fernando
matter of diplomatic nicety needs of the situation. Ellu.;r.tonallownca
into the hy joining the
'"'cc t9115 the CFA franc,;
L' oiS""" cur f hat it ron.sidcrs
a dloicc to these countries from_ participating in the
coonomtc Until more pcugcot automobiles were bought in
eompanies like (jcncralcctc.,doroari_ngbusinc,.,; in Nig..,ria which
a fro;:

King to conrpaniessuch as Dizcngorf, and Solei Boneh have
that is potentially all French WJ;.St

arc too far from Nigeria thus making it for her Jo_be by
fighters should they embark on adventure Ntgena. T.hiS is
Interdicting Fernando Po of cou/"lic not completely eliminate the South
African threat. As of now South Africa does not have any aircraft carrier, even if
it does, the days of the surface fleet are however numbered because of their
I'LIInerabitily to aerial anack. This realisaJ ion has even forced the Pentagon to begin
to think seriously of concentrating on submarines. The South Africans h:we a few
and not bcyuud the capacity of the Nigerian nary to perfect their
anli-suhmarinccapabtlity. Evenasubmarineborneallackonourcoasl pales in
importana: when compared to the damage an airborne aUack on all vital areas of
Nigeria using Fernando Po as takcoff point.
Once aU the appropriate steps have been taken then Nigeria must put her own
house in order. The security of our ports, particularly Calabar, Port Harcourt and
l...llgos must be guaranteed. This can be done by strengthening the naval in
thesc:arcasandaequiringmorepatrolboats,eruisersandbauleshipsand alta..:k
.. The recent aequi,ition of an armed wing by the nary is a in the

he fdt in our territorial waters and by our neighbours. By constant
Forus, Nigeria must make it
Tire Dyuamics of Nrgeria11 Equara,.a/ ReJ.nro.u

::Ould be {oro::d defend ou_r interest. The we

he considerable and
one hour
Guinea would cllil;t as constituted lies
of the
the security economic well of NigeriaY lt just may :]]

to Nigeria and the rest of m dependent Afnca. The Indian diMnem-
bcrmcnt of Barrgladc.sll from Pakistan may prOV!;: a useful lesson for us and if
Fernando Po is to be separated from Rio Muni, the Camerounsand Gabon should
arrangement hy Nigeria and the Camerouns running the affairs p
out of the question because historically oondomination administratio11 has neo,w
worked because of in-built oonnict in the arrangement. This is made

dangled bdoro the Nigerian government by the government or Equatorial Guinea
put to a relationship. The recent ddrcczing oft he Southern Afria.o
situation, it should be noted, will not change the 6trategicimportanee of Equatorial
Guinea Island or Bioko, the strategical location Ill's a vis Nig1:ria would always be
available for political and military exploitation by Nigeria's rOC5. This i5to the
problem would remain as a permanent feature of Nigeria's roreign policy problem.
\. F. 0. 371!26'JOtl, C. W. Michie, H. B. M. VkeConsu\cncl. in B. H.
to Rt. Hon. Lord Loyd or Dolobran, Secretary or State ror the Coloniu, 4
2. I. K. Sundiata prelude tu Scumlal: Lihcria and Fcrnando Po 1880-I<J.\O)oumaJ
of Africa/! History XV 1974 p. 100.
J H. R. Rudin, Gt!mrall:> ill tilt! Camt!rowu 1884-1914: A Ccut Stlldy Ill Modtm
lmpt!ria1ism; Yale Univ..-r,ity Press 1938, pp. 315-316.
Vice Consul in Santa lsahel, endo.ln B. H
Bourdillon to C. 0. 4 January 1941.
6. I. K.Sundiataop.c:il.,p Jtrl.
1. 1. K.Sundialll issued in 1906,articlc38adjurcds
inJ. Anglo-SpaDish Relations in WC&t Africa during th
9. Vol. VII. No. 2, June 1974 p. 292. c

"Nigcria-Fcmando Po in A. B. Akinyemj Ed.
Nigtlitltmdlht Wodd, NIIA, Lagos 1976 .. also M. B. Akpa.n, Liberia and
the Univef541 Ncgo The to the at.o,..
tion o!GarvcyscheiiiC for Afncan t:Oiomsahon. lounrfll of Histmy X1lf
14. F.0.371/269(111,op.dl.
17 F. 0. 371/26908. C. W. Michic.,op. dl.
19. Value or exports from Fcmando Po.

I "" I 1931 I 1932 I 1933 I
TbcJe 6gures rdled dce6ning labour supply, par1icularly the 1931 rlg\lrt
refkcts tbc 510ppaae oC labour recruitment in Uberia. See F. 0. 37U49640.
Research Depanmcnt, 1st February, 1945.
20. C.O.S831248,Reponinsthemigration ofGermansfromthe Camerounsuoder
British Mudale to Fcmando Po in August1939.
21. Forfulldisc:IWiion olthissceSamir Amin,Modem Mi,-otioll in West Africa 0.
22. F.0.371J269011,C. W.Miehieop.cil., outofiO.OOONigerians
OwclliproviDCecontributed SO%
Calabar 38%
Ogoja ID%
Camcrouas(Britisb) J%
nlbid. Onitsba. 1%
TbeSpantsh labour officer pays 1 slerling and 150 Pesetas. In additioo
co.alributcs IDOihcr ISO to 450 Pesetas for a labourer safely
Fernando Po {The Pound Sterling's official rate was Ll "' 45
21- No. I
zs. by B. H.
Zti C o. SB3f240 WAFF Intelligence rcpon for half ,c:.r ending 31 Dec:embcr
71/24SIO. ViscountHalifax,Sc:c:rctaryofStateforForc:ipAff.a' s
27. M;. Fc:terson, British Ambassador to Madrid, 7 February t940. rsto
Z9. F. 0. 371134771, R. Plc:Yan (Comite Nationalc: to F. 0. 22Januuy
30 C 0. 651153. Annual Report of the Department of Labour year 1944.
:n: Tol.al populatiOR o(the Island in 1942 was 23,0110 com(!O!ol:d r11tlow&:
European African
Spanish 1,000 Nigerian 11,000
Portuguese SOO Fn:nch Camcmunian\ 2,000
Germans 2S Buhi (indigenous Africans) 2,500
English 4
l,S29 ll,SOO
sec F. 0. 371134771, British Consul-General in Duala to F. 0. 30Juat,00.
32. Anglo-Spanish Labour agreement concemiDgNigc:ria.arr.dEquatorWGui:nca,
December 1942, Clause XXVIII
33. Nameo(Recruitcr Arcao(Rccruiting
I. RobcrtOji
2. BaSM:y Okon Udo
3. A.I.WiUiams
4. B.A. Eliom Eyamba
S. Bf)'SOn U0l Elulrudo
6. J.S.Uranta
7. G.U. Anige
8. Johny E. Etim Walker
9. T.D. Ngawuchu
10. Emmanucl Ono Oji
11. J.C.Sosco
12. Michael Anyanwu
13. Uka Ogbu Uka
14. Peter Oboonaya
15. Ef10111NkopNruk
See C. 0. 657153, op. cit.
Opobo Division
Opobo Division
lkot-Ekpene/ARO/ITV Division
OWcrri DiW.ion
Owcni Division
Okipi DiW.i011
Orlu Dislrict ofOkigwi. DisiYioo
" so
Nlgtlltl und liS Jnunedttlft Nrighbour.J

c. 0. to F. 0. 10 August.' 1943.
F: O. J?t/)4nl, Consul-General m Duala to F. 0. JOJune, 1943_
: Osuntokun, "AngloSpanish_ rel_ati_ons the First World War"
op. "' Sec also Jide Mgcna 111 the Fvsr World War, Lon&man
Londcm J979(forthcommg). . .
_ f_0_
1. F. o. 3711)4nl, Duala to F. 0. 30Junc, 1943.
z. F. 0.371!34712.Rc:sident 0. 12July,l943.
. F. 0. )71/495911, British Vice-Consul in Fernando Po to F. 0. 31 March, l94S.
_ Bolaji Akinycmi "Nigeria and Fernando Po 19581966: The Politia;oflrreden.
tism: AfriL:ut The Quuttcrlyloumulofthc Royot Africun Society, Vol.
45. Federal Ministry of Informal ion New; Release No. 180, February 6 1976.
4<. 7January,1958.
47. SupoOjcdokun, ''The Anglo-Nigerian entente and its demise 1960-1962" Slaff
Seminar Papers School of African and Asian Studies 1970-71, al Lagos
Lihrary, sec also Mahmud Tukur: Nigeria's External Relations:
The lJN '" a forum ami policy medium in the conduct of foreign policy
(kluhcr J9W Dcccmhcr 1%5. ABU Zaria. Institute of Administration
48. T.-i<'lftlpfr 2XJmJu01ry 1%3 and 7 August 1963. West African Pi/019
Fchru ry I'J62,Sm!day 77mcs Ul February 1962 and 2.'i February 1%2 Sw1day
49. Nil,'f:IIU/1 Ob!iCiver, Brigadier Bassey's interview, 24 November 1%9.
50. New Ni1,<eriu11 24 January I 'X? al'o Nigeriw1 Momil1g Po!il 14 October 1969.
51. Federal Minislry oflnformalion News Rclca5e No. 142, Lagos 31;1976.
52. of Agreement, Federal Ministry of Information; Release No. 94, January
53. Fcd("ral Minislry of Information Release No. M Fehruary 6, 1976 .
. '>4./hid
56. FcdcraltiuvcrnmcntsiOJtcmeutun21Januaryl?16
51. HuwwnTimcsJ;mu:tryl.l, I'J76,Ji.]
511. Ommides 12 January l'l7f, 'cc abo Daily Ski::tch 14 January 1976.
59. Mg.:riuliStumlurt/14Januaryl'l1t..
(.0 . .Sec Ntw Nifi'!rt'tlll January24 1976 Nigrriwl Stulldurd 141:1 1976
fl. PRO/C0520/II lo Berlin F. o. 5th July Sec
Rtlatlmu: The Diplomacy or
Tht D)'rtamia of Nifuja11 &,us!orial Guillca 91
pROJC0S83118/43993. German inteDigcacc rcpon on MS Bremcn c.ap:uu.d
b)' (Jeocral Olarla DobeU in Duala. !llh Oaobcr 1914. See ako A.
tokun: Nigeria ill U!t Finl World Wwl..ongman London 1979.
. A study at NIPSS on.22ad February 1980 on the nature ohhrcaato
(lligeria's seeunty by the followmg: Jemibcwon D. M. (Brigadier NA); Falopc
J.K.(Air ConamodorcNAF),Dan10adami M. (Commissioaero(Police NPF),
Babangida I. B. (Brigadier NA).
66. lA ea11p d'ttol manqut du 6Awil 1084; Dossier prcsente par le ministere de
l'inormation et de la culture de la Republique du Cameroun.
61. Sec Jidc Osuntokun, "Relations between Nigeria aad Femando Po from
colonial times to the prescnl" in A.B. Aldn)Ud (ed.) Nigrria fllld lht World:
ill Nigeri1211 Fordgn Policy (lbadao OUP (c) 1978), pp. 112.

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