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1 Nigerian Yearbook of International Law


This paper focuses on significant patterns/features in the historical development of the international law of secession and its contribution over time (or the lack thereof) to the struggle to afford greater protection to oppressed sub-state groups the world over. It was Crawford Young who once observed that “the state as an analytical quarry is an elusive and complex prey.” With the necessary modifications, this observation applies with almost equal force to the international law of secession. Complexity and confusion loom too large in this area of international law. For example, there is, at best, little clarity in the literature of the discipline of international law and in related fields of study regarding the existence or otherwise of an international legal entitlement to secession in favor of even the most highly oppressed and subjugated sub-state groups.


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