Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 24 October 2017


The Federal Republic of Nigeria acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 27 September 2001, and the treaty entered into force for the country 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 last 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 2009 and 2010 reports.[1] Nigeria did not submit an Article 7 report in 2016 or early 2017.

The current status of national implementation 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.[2] In 2006, Nigeria reported that an implementation bill was undergoing its first reading in the National Assembly.[3]

Nigeria attended the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago in November–December 2016, but did not make any statements. Nigeria did not attend the intersessional meetings in June 2017.

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 using landmines, improvised landmines, and other types of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) 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 2016 Meeting of States Parties.

In late 2016 and early 2017, Nigeria suffered a series of incidents appearing to involve improvised mines.[4] On 21 August 2017, at least two Nigerian cattle farmers were killed and three severely injured when they stepped on a landmine while traveling to Biu, Borno state. The civilians were apparently attempting to flee a Boko Haram ambush, and were running across fields when they triggered the landmine, allegedly planted by the insurgents.[5]

In December 2016, the Nigerian army acquired a Slovak-made UGV minesweeper, to help fight mines planted by Boko Haram.[6]

In 2016, a technical expert working for the Norwegian Refugee Council provided 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.[7]

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.[8] The Nigerian army released a series of photos showing its engineers removing items planted along the Gwoza-Yamteke highway.[9] In August 2016, a Nigerian media outlet reported that the army was involved in clearing Boko Haram landmines.[10] (See the Mine Action profile for more details.) That month, the Nigerian army reportedly arrested five Boko Haram militants who were alleged to be laying landmines.[11]

Production, transfer, and 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.”[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

In its initial Article 7 transparency report in 2004, Nigeria declared a stockpile of 3,364 Dimbat mines for research and training.[16] In 2005, Nigeria reported that all of its retained mines had been destroyed.[17] 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.”[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 22 August 2006.

[4] See, for example: “Five killed in Boko Haram mine blast, ambush,” Vanguard, 21 June 2017.

[7] Email exchange with Manuel Gonzal, Security Advisor, Norwegian Refugee Council - Nigeria, 7 March 2016.

[8]Nigerian Army Disables Boko Haram Explosives,” Voice of America, 5 August 2015.

[10] Maiduguri Duku Joel, “Military receives equipment to clear Boko Haram landmines in Northeast,” The Nation, 20 August 2016.

[11] 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.

[13] For further details, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 256–257; and Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 201–203.

[14] Interview with Maj. General Yellow-Duke, Bamako, in Mali, 15 February 2001.

[15] 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.

[16] 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.

[17] 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.

[18] Letter from Amb. Dr. Martin I. Uhomoibhi, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN in Geneva, 10 July 2007.