Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Summary: Signatory Nigeria has said it intends to ratify the convention, but it has not taken any steps towards ratification other than stakeholder consultations. Nigeria has participated in most of the convention’s annual meetings and attended the First Review Conference in September 2015. It voted in favor of a UN resolution on the convention in December 2015.
Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but imported them in the past and possesses a stockpile. In 2015 and 2016, Nigeria alleged that Boko Haram are creating improvised explosive devices from cluster munitions.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 12 June 2009.
In September 2015, a Nigerian official acknowledged the slow ratification process and told the CMC it was due to bureaucratic delays and a May 2015 change in government. Since 2010, Nigerian officials have committed to ratify the convention as soon as possible, but the ratification process had not advanced to the National Assembly as of June 2016. During 2012, Nigeria undertook stakeholder consultations on ratification of the convention.
Nigeria participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and joined in the consensus adoption of the convention text in Dublin in May 2008. It attended the signing conference in Oslo in December 2008 as an observer only and said it would sign after completing internal processes. Nigeria subsequently signed the convention at the UN in New York in June 2009.
Nigeria engages in the work of the convention, despite not ratifying. At the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015, Nigeria welcomed the successful adoption of the Dubrovnik Declaration condemning any use of cluster munitions by any actor.
Nigeria has attended every annual Meeting of States Parties of the convention, except in 2014, and intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2012 and 2014. It has participated in regional workshops on the convention, such as one held in Accra, Ghana in May 2012.
On 7 December 2015, Nigeria voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which urges all states outside the convention to join as soon as possible.
In its capacity as a temporary member of the UN Security Council, Nigeria endorsed a May 2014 resolution expressing concern at the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan and calling for “all parties to refrain from similar such use in the future.”
Nigeria has not elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the convention’s interpretation and implementation, such as the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, the prohibition on foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, and the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions.
Nigeria is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
The full status and composition of Nigeria’s stockpile of cluster munitions is not known, but in April 2012, a government official said Nigeria stockpiles United Kingdom (UK)-made BL-755 cluster bombs. At the Third Meeting of States Parties in September 2012, Nigeria again requested technical assistance and support from States Parties to destroy the BL-755 cluster bombs.
In October 2015, the headquarters of Nigeria’s armed forces (Defence Headquarters) issued an alert warning the public of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) fabricated by Boko Haram from cluster munitions and provided photographs of weapons it said Nigerian Army engineers in Adamawa State recovered from arms caches found in areas contested by Boko Haram.
The Ministry of Defence did not name the type of cluster munitions depicted in the photographs but CMC experts identified them as submunitions from French-made BLG-66 cluster munitions. AFP reported that Boko Haram could have taken the cluster munitions from Nigerian ammunition stocks or received them from smugglers who obtained them from Libyan arms depots.
Nigeria has not indicated if it intends to retain any cluster munitions for research or training purposes.
Use, production, and transfer
Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but imported them in the past.
Sierra Leone alleges that Nigerian peacekeepers participating in the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) force used cluster munitions in Sierra Leone in 1997, but the use allegation was denied at the time by ECOMOG Force Commander General Victor Malu.
In May 2012, Sierra Leone reiterated the use allegations. Nigeria denied the use allegation again in September 2012, stating:
Nigeria wishes to reiterate the inaccuracy of the statement made by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor on its 2011 report on Nigeria, to the effect that Sierra-Leone has said that Nigerian peacekeepers under the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) used cluster munitions in Sierra-Leone in 1997. This statement is wrong and incorrect. Nigeria wishes to clarify once again, that ECOMOG is a Regional peacekeeping initiative, and not a Nigerian national body. The regional body, ECOWAS [Economic Community Of West African States], of which Nigeria is part, among others, must be given due credit for resolving the Sierra-Leonean crisis at huge cost to itself in terms of lives and treasure lost.
 Interview with Patrick Y. Gbemudu, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN in Geneva, Dubrovnik, 8 September 2015.
 Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, Zambia, September 2013; statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012; and statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 10 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.
 Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, Norway, 11 September 2012; and email from Mimidoo Achakpa, Network Coordinator, IANSA Women’s Network-Nigeria, 20 June 2012.
 For details on Nigeria’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 223–224.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012. Jane’s Information Group has reported that the Nigerian Air Force possesses BL-755 cluster bombs. Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 843.
 “‘Boko Haram cluster bombs’ may come from Nigerian military,” AFP, 13 October 2015. See also, Philip Obaji Jr., “Boko Haram’s Cluster-Bomb Girls,” The Daily Beast, 2 October 2015.
 According to sources close to the Sierra Leonean military, in 1997 Nigerian forces operating as ECOMOG peacekeepers dropped two cluster bombs on Lokosama, near Port Loko. See, IRIN-WA Weekly Roundup, IRIN, 10 March 1997. Additionally, Nigerian ECOMOG peacekeepers were reported to have used French-produced BLG-66 Belouga cluster bombs in an attack on the eastern town of Kenema. See also, “10 Killed in Nigerian raid in eastern Sierra Leone,” Agence France-Presse, 11 December 1997.
Mine Ban Policy
The Federal Republic of Nigeria acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 27 September 2001, and the treaty entered into force on 1 March 2002.
Nigeria has stated since 2004 that it is in the process of enacting national legislation to implement the treaty. In its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report submitted in 2012, Nigeria again stated, “Domestication of MBT [Mine Ban Treaty] is in progress,” as it had also noted in its 2010 and 2009 reports.
The exact status of national legislation is not known. In September 2013, the Monitor was informed that a committee on international humanitarian law was considering the status of international instruments that Nigeria is party to or has yet to join. While consultations were ongoing, the implementing legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty had not yet been sent by the committee to parliament. In 2006, Nigeria reported that an implementation bill was undergoing its first reading in the National Assembly.
Nigeria last submitted an Article 7 report in 2012, for the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.
Nigeria attended the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November-December 2015, but did not make any statements. Nigeria did not attend the intersessional meetings in May 2016.
Nigeria has signed, but not ratified, both the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Boko Haram militants have allegedly been laying landmines since mid-2014. Nigeria has not provided an Article 7 report since 2012, which would update States Parties regarding any new mine use within the country. Nigeria did not provide updated information at the November-December 2015 Meeting of States Parties. Attempts by the ICBL to obtain further information from Nigerian authorities have gone unanswered.
A technical expert working for the Norwegian Refugee Council provide the Monitor with photographs and technical characteristics of Boko Haram-made victim-activated improvised landmines that are triggered by a pressure plate. The expert alleged the technology was transferred to Boko Haram from Al Shabaab in Somalia.
Previously, in August 2015, Colonel Sani Usman, the spokesperson of the Nigerian army was reported to have stated that the army had cleared landmines planted by Boko Haram militants from the Gwoza-Yamteke road in Borno state. He said the militants converted chemistry laboratories at the Dikwa School of Agriculture into bomb-making factories when they seized the town. The Nigerian army released a series of photos showing its engineers removing items planted along the Gwoza-Yamteke highway. In August 2016, a Nigerian media outlet reported that the army is involved in clearing Boko Haram landmines. (See the Mine Action profile for more details.)
Also in August 2016, the Nigerian army reportedly arrested five Boko Haram militants who were alleged to be laying landmines.
Production, transfer, stockpiling
In 2009 and 2010, Nigeria reported the past production of what it described as “conventional [antipersonnel] landmines” that were victim-activated and attached a photograph of what it said was a “Biafran fabricated landmine (OGBUNIGWE) used during the Nigerian Civil War 1967–70.” Nigeria has stated that it has not acquired or used antipersonnel mines since the 1967–1970 Biafra Civil War. Nigeria has denied allegations that its Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops used mines in the 1990s in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In February 2001, the Chief of Operations of the Nigerian Army reported to the Monitor that Nigeria had destroyed its antipersonnel mines remaining after the Biafra War, and had not retained any for training or development purposes. In May 2002, however, Nigeria presented photographs to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction showing that antipersonnel mines were among munitions involved in a January 2002 fire and explosion at the Ammunition Transit Depot in Ikeja Cantoment, Lagos.
In its initial Article 7 transparency report in 2004, Nigeria declared a stockpile of 3,364 Dimbat mines for research and training. In 2005, Nigeria reported that all of its retained mines had been destroyed. Nigeria stated in 2007, “With the completion of these destruction exercises, we are able to report that there are no more anti-personnel mines on Nigeria soil.” However, in 2009, Nigeria reported 3,364 “British made AP mines” as retained for training and also stated that it had destroyed 9,786 stockpiled “British made AP landmines” in 2005. In 2010 and again in 2012, Nigeria continued to list retaining 3,364 “British and Czechoslovakian made AP Landmine[s]” but did not specify the types.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 April 2010–31 March 2011), Form A. In the 2009 report, Nigeria also stated that an interministerial committee had been formed to prepare a draft bill and that once drafted, the bill would be presented to the National Assembly for consideration. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 2006–2009), Form A.
 Interview with Mimidoo Achakpa, Coordinator, International Action Network on Small Arms (Nigeria), Director, Women’s Right to Education Programme (WREP), Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, in Lusaka, 13 September 2013.
 Email exchange with Manuel Gonzal, Security Advisor, Norwegian Refugee Council - Nigeria, 7 March 2016.
 “Bombs, IEDS & Land Mines: Nigeria Army Clear Gwoza -Yamteke Road in Borno (Photos),” Tori.ng, 5 August 2015.
 Duku Joel, Maiduguri, “Military receives equipment to clear Boko Haram landmines in Northeast,” The Nation, 20 August 2016.
 Seun Opejobi, “Boko Haram: Troops arrest four responsible for planting landmines, bomb experts in Borno,” Daily Post, 12 August 2016. Photographs of locally manufactured victim-activated, pressure plate, improvised mines accompanied the media article. It is not clear under which law or regulation the militants will be charged. Nigeria is not known to have implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty.
 Interview with Maj. General Yellow-Duke, Bamako, in Mali, 15 February 2001.
 Presentation by Bob Scott, Munitions Consultants, United Kingdom (UK), Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 30 May 2002. For details, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 638–641.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 22 June 2004. The origins of the mines were not given, but the Monitor has reported that in the past Nigeria imported antipersonnel mines from the former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, the former Czechoslovakia, France, and the UK. For details, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 202–203.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms D and G, 15 April 2005. Two hundred antipersonnel mines were destroyed in November 2004, and the remaining 3,164 were destroyed in February 2005 in a ceremony witnessed by Nigeria’s then-President, officials from the Ministry of Defense, and foreign observers. Nigeria also reported destroying at the same time 1,836 pieces of unexploded ordnance recovered from the Lagos Ammunition Transit Depot explosion. It did not specify how many of these items were antipersonnel mines.
 Letter from Amb. Dr. Martin I. Uhomoibhi, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN in Geneva, 10 July 2007.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 2006–2009), Forms D and G.
Contaminated by: antipersonnel mines (extent unknown), antivehicle mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). May be contaminated by cluster munition remnants.
Recommendations for action
- The Federal Republic of Nigeria should urgently clear any antipersonnel mines, including victim-activated IEDs on its territory on the basis of humanitarian needs and priorities. It should also take immediate steps to minimize harm to civilian populations, including the provision of risk education.
- Nigeria should inform Mine Ban Treaty States Parties of the discovery of any contamination from antipersonnel mines, including victim-activated IEDs, and report on the location of all suspected or confirmed mined areas under its jurisdiction or control and on the status of programs for their destruction.
- As soon as security conditions permit, non-technical survey should commence in Nigeria’s three most conflict-affected provinces, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
- Where appropriate, Nigeria should encourage and facilitate the provision of assistance and expertise from humanitarian demining organizations.
In 2015 and 2016, numerous incidents involving both civilian and military casualties from “landmines” and a range of IEDs planted by Boko Haram have been reported in the northeast of Nigeria. The majority of the reports appear to describe victim-activated IEDs made by Boko Haram, which function as antipersonnel mines and antivehicle mines. (See the Mine Ban country profile for further details.)
The extent of possible contamination from mines and explosive devices is not known. Incidents involving mines and IEDs have been reported in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, with Borno state the most heavily affected. According to the Nigerian military, the Sambisa forest in Borno state, Boko Haram’s stronghold, has been heavily mined, along with “extensive” mine use by Boko Haram around military positions.
According to an assessment carried out in Adamawa and Borno states in November 2015 by Danish Demining Group (DDG), local community members reported a number of areas as suspected to be contaminated with explosive devices requiring clearance including: Dikwa, Marte, Kukawa, Ngala, Bama, Gwoza, and Kala-Balge local government areas in Borno state.
DDG reported that interviewees, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), community informants such as teachers, religious leaders, and medical personnel, local and national government officials, military and police personnel, and UN and civil society actors, identified contamination as including antipersonnel and antivehicle mines and cluster munition remnants, as well as various mortars and projectiles, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, grenades, Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), small arms ammunition, and a variety of person-borne, vehicle-borne, and remotely-controlled IEDs.
One interviewee identified mines resembling Chinese No. 4 antipersonnel mines and Chinese Type 72 antivehicle mines based on photographs, but stated that she did not witness the emplacement of these mines, but saw Boko Haram fighters transporting them. Another IDP reported seeing a device similar to a Chinese Type 72 antivehicle mine along the Madagali-Gwoza road.
In October 2015, the Nigerian army warned civilians of the possibility of encountering IEDs fabricated from submunitions and reported the discovery of caches of cluster munitions in Adamawa state. These were later identified as French-made air-delivered BLG-66 “Beluga” cluster munitions, alleged to have been taken from stockpiles of the Nigerian armed forces or smuggled from Libyan arms depots.
Contamination from mines and IEDs has had a serious humanitarian impact by preventing the return of IDPs and exacerbating a crisis that saw over two million persons displaced in 2015. Roads were closed to civilian traffic by the military due to the presence of mines or IEDs and there were numerous reports of civilian casualties and farmers who feared returning to work their fields due to the presence of mines. This contributed to sharply worsening food shortages. (See the Casualties and Victim Assistance country profile for further details.)
Both Nigeria’s armed forces and police carry out explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) activities and ERW clearance. The state police have EOD units that support the army in clearing unexploded ordinance (UXO) and IEDs. The army’s ERW clearance is primarily focused on military operations and clearing roads and areas to facilitate access for troops to carry out attacks and keeping military supply routes open.
In March 2015, the Nigerian Defense Headquarters stated that 24 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) had been provided by the United States (US) to the Nigerian army and were being used in clearance operations in the northeast with “much success.” However, it was also reported that most of the vehicles were not in serviceable condition when delivered, and as such had been unable to be put to use.
Military casualties have been reported among soldiers clearing mines. In May 2015, two soldiers were killed and two others seriously wounded while clearing landmines in Gudumbali town. Their unit had been clearing mines along the Gwoza-Yamteke road and seized a bomb-making facility in what was formerly a chemistry laboratory at the Dikwa School of Agriculture.
It is not known how much mine or EOD clearance has been carried out by the Nigerian military. In August 2016, a military commander was quoted in the media saying that a “massive” demining effort was underway across Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, following the purchase and delivery of demining equipment, as farmland around the Sambisa forest required clearance of explosive devices before it could be accessed by returning farmers.
In February 2015, the military claimed to have cleared more than 1,500 landmines laid by Boko Haram around the town of Baga and in the Sambisa forest, using armored personnel vehicles and tanks with mine-sweeping capabilities. In April 2015, the Nigerian military was reportedly using mechanized demining equipment to clear roads and paths for military operations against Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest. Another report affirmed that the army had deployed mechanical demining equipment, but said “the available machines are insufficient for the vast area of the Sambisa forest.” The military was also reported to have been clearing some roads, including in July 2015 when it announced that the Damaturu-Biu road had been cleared of mines and explosive devices by Special Forces EOD troops, with support from the police and local “vigilantes.” In December 2015, a local governor in Adamawa state reported that the military was working to clear mines from recaptured areas, focusing on roads, schools, and clinics, but farms were not considered a high priority despite many casualties having occurred when civilians returned to their fields. In another media report, the Nigerian police EOD unit was reported to have neutralized 67 landmines buried by Boko Harm around military barracks in Bama in September 2016.
Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance
Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Nigeria was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2012. At the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in November 2011, Nigeria declared it had cleared all known antipersonnel mines from its territory.
Under the treaty’s agreed framework, in the event a mined area is discovered after the expiry of a State Party’s Article 5 clearance deadline, it should immediately inform all other States Parties of this discovery and undertake to destroy or ensure the destruction of all antipersonnel mines as soon as possible. Nigeria has not submitted an Article 7 transparency report since 2012.
If Nigeria is unable to destroy the contamination before the next Mine Ban Treaty meeting of States Parties (in Santiago in late November 2016), it should request for a new extended Article 5 deadline, which should be as short as possible and not more than 10 years. It also must continue to fulfil its reporting obligations under the treaty, including the obligation to report on the location of all suspected or confirmed mined areas under their jurisdiction or control and on the status of programs for their destruction. As of October 2016, Nigeria had not made a public declaration of any newly discovered antipersonnel mine contamination to Mine Ban Treaty States Parties.
In a joint motion tabled in November 2015, Nigerian legislators called on the military high command to prioritize clearance of landmines and explosive devices to enable the return of IDPs, as well as called for assistance to victims of landmines. In July 2015, Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbaio, stated that demining efforts would be an “utmost priority of the government” and pledged that it was “absolutely important for us that farmlands are swept clean of mines and explosives.”
Following its November 2015 assessment mission, DDG concluded that it was not yet feasible to conduct non-technical survey or initiate humanitarian clearance in Borno state due to levels on insecurity and inaccessibility from the ongoing conflict.
The Monitor gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review supported and published by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which conducted mine action research in 2016 and shared it with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.
 J. Payne, “Nigeria’s military believes it has Boko Haram cornered, but landmines are getting in the way,” Reuters, 2 May 2015; and “Nigeria: Landmine Blast Kills Soldier, Three Vigilantes in Sambisa Forest,” AllAfrica, 24 April 2015.
 “Boko Haram has cluster bombs: Nigeria’s DHQ,” The News Nigeria, 8 October 2015; “Nigeria: Boko Haram Cluster Bomb May Come from Nigerian Military,” AllAfrica, 14 October 2015; and P. Hazlewood, “‘Boko Haram cluster bombs’ may come from Nigerian military,” AFP, 13 October 2015.
 H. Idris and I. Sawab, “Nigeria: Liberated Areas – Why IDPs Can’t Return Home,” AllAfrica, 7 March 2015; I. Sawab and H. K. Matazu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Plying Borno Roads Still a Nightmare,” AllAfrica, 9 May 2015; and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, “Nigeria IDP Figures Analysis,” 31 December 2015.
 I. Sawab and H. K. Matazu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Plying Borno Roads Still a Nightmare,” AllAfrica, 9 May 2015; and H. Idris and I. Sawab, “Nigeria: Liberated Areas – Why IDPs Can’t Return Home,” AllAfrica, 7 March 2015.
 DDG, “Mine Action Assessment: Northeastern Nigeria (Adamawa and Borno States) 1–15 November 2015,” undated.
 S. Iroegbu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Military Insiders, DHQ Wrangle Over US MRAP Donations,” AllAfrica, 27 March 2015.
 I. Sawab and H. K. Matazu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Plying Borno Roads Still a Nightmare,” AllAfrica, 9 May 2015.
 N. Marama, “Military to clear off landmines, IEDs in North East,” Vanguard, 19 August 2016.
 M.P. Moore, “This Month in Mines - February 2015,” Landmines in Africa blog, 12 March 2015; and “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Why Military Offensive is Yielding Results – Dasuki,” AllAfrica, 21 February 2015.
 “Nigeria: Sambisa – Military Deploys More Equipment, Continues Assault,” AllAfrica, 26 April 2015.
 S. Iroegbu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Military Insiders, DHQ Wrangle Over U.S. MRAP Donations,” AllAfrica, 27 March 2015.
 “Nigerian soldiers remove bombs from Damaturu-Biu road,” Premium Times, 19 July 2015.
 “Nigeria: Police Defuses 67 Landmines Buried by Boko Haram in Bama Army Barracks,” AllAfrica, 26 September 2016.
 Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 29 November 2011.
 Final Report of the Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 21 January 2013, p. 10.
 I. K. Sule, “Nigeria: Reps Want Landmines Cleared in Captured Territory,” AllAfrica, 4 November 2015.
 L. Nwahughiogu, “Nigeria: Insurgency – All Hopes Not Lost, Osinbajo Assures Boko Haram Victims,” AllAfrica, 3 July 2015.
 DDG, “Mine Action Assessment: Northeastern Nigeria (Adamawa and Borno States) 1–15 November 2015,” undated.
Support for Mine Action
Please see Landmine Monitor Report 2009.
Casualties and Victim Assistance