Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science


The mounting of relief operations by the -humanitarian organizations during the thirty month Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), for the blockaded Eastern Region became the center of intense political controversy throughout the war. The study analyzes in detail the activities of the humanitarian organizations as well as their influence which they exerted on both parties involved in the crisis. The Federal Government of Nigeria has consistently maintained that the humanitarian organizations involved in the relief efforts in Biafra were guilty of intervention in their internal affairs. The humanitarian organizations insist that their actions were purely humanitarian. This study seeks to ex an ire the merits of the two positions, using international law concepts, empirical data on relief activities and the historical record of the Nigerian civil war as the framework for this examination. The discussion of the nature of humanitarianism and the circumstances under which humanitarian intervention may be justifiable helps to explain the argument by the humanitarian organizations that humanitarian considerations to intervene in order to save civilian lives outweighed Nigeria's charges of their being guilty of intervention. The study concludes that even if the humanitarian organizations, efforts to airlift relief materials to Biafra were purely humanitarian in nature, they cannot be divorced from the political consequences that result from their activities. The study also concludes that the economic support that the humanitarian groups provided the Biafrans was vital toBiafra's legitimacy as a sovereign nation.