Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 26 September 2019


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 has not submitted any further Article 7 reports since 2012.

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 Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018 but did not make any statements. Nigeria attended the intersessional meetings in May 2019 but did not provide an update on national implementation legislation, instead providing updates on Article 5 implementation and stockpile destruction.

It is unclear if Nigeria is in violation of its Article 5 obligations from any residual contamination from the Biafran war. In 2004, Nigeria did not report any contamination in its initial Article 7 report. Subsequent Article 7 reports suggest contamination was periodically cleared in areas associated with the Biafran civil war. In October 2017, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice awarded 88 billion Naira (US$242.4 million) in damages against the federal government for its failure to clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) remaining from the civil war in the southeast of the country. In a consent judgment, the court ordered the federal government to commence clearance within 45 days. Landmine victims launched the legal case against the Nigerian government at the ECOWAS Court in 2012, requesting the court to order the Nigerian government to act on explosive hazards remaining in 11 states of the country.[4] In May 2019, Nigeria stated at the intersessional meetings that “as soon as security conditions permit, non-technical survey of antipersonnel mines, anti-vehicle mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) will commence in Nigeria’s three most conflict affected states, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa and this will enable us to provide necessary information on the discovery of any contamination from antipersonnel mines, including victim-activated IEDs.”[5]

Nigeria has signed, but not ratified, both the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).


Boko Haram militants have been using landmines, improvised landmines, and other types of 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 substantive updated information at the November 2018 Meeting of States Parties. At the intersessional meetings in May 2019, Nigeria acknowledged that “with the recent upsurge of insurgency in Nigeria, there have been reported cases of new contaminations, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.” However, Nigeria stated that the security situation prevents them from ascertaining more specific information about contamination.[6]

In August 2019, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) documented 393 incidents and recoveries of improvised landmines attributed to Boko Haram over the previous three years, throughout Borno state and in areas of Yobe and Adamawa states.[7] Previously, in September 2018, MAG stated that there was evidence of significant new use of landmines by Boko Haram and its splinter groups. MAG reported that locally-manufactured antipersonnel landmines were used on roads, fields, and within villages, mostly in Borno state, but also in Yobe and Adamawa.[8] In April 2017, UNMAS reported “extensive use of simple pressure plate activated IEDs on main supply routes, effectively as very large de facto landmines. There are reports of significant use of IEDs around Boko Haram held areas, with the use of multiple IEDs and anti-handling devices.”[9] In June 2017, UNMAS stated that contamination by improvised mines laid by Boko Haram factions also threatens communities in nearby areas of the Lake Chad Bxasin.[10]

Since 2016, Nigeria suffered a series of incidents appearing to involve improvised antipersonnel mines.[11] On 18 March 2019, eight people in a vehicle were killed by a roadside mine near Warabe village in Borno state.[12] In June 2019, the Nigerian army published photographs of two pressure plate-activated explosive devices encountered during counter-insurgency activities in Borno State.[13] On 6 March 2018, four loggers were killed when they stepped on landmines left by Boko Haram near Dikwa, 90 kilometers east of Maiduguri in Borno state. The four had gone to retrieve a vehicle abandoned the previous day following a Boko Haram ambush.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17] The Nigerian army released a series of photos showing its engineers removing items planted along the Gwoza-Yamteke highway.[18] In August 2016, a Nigerian media outlet reported that the army was involved in clearing Boko Haram landmines.[19] (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.[20]

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

In June 2018, the Nigerian army offered a 5 million Naira (US$13,800) reward, via public radio in the northeast of the country, for any information regarding the location of any improvised explosive device factories.[21] 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.”[22] Nigeria has stated that it has not acquired or used antipersonnel mines since the 1967–1970 Biafra War. Nigeria has denied allegations that its ECOWAS troops used mines in the 1990s in Liberia and Sierra Leone.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

In its initial Article 7 transparency report in 2004, Nigeria declared a stockpile of 3,364 Dimbat mines for research and training.[26] In 2005, Nigeria reported that all of its retained mines had been destroyed.[27] 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.”[28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

[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] ECOWAS Court, “Nigeria Agrees to pay N50 billion Naira to civil war bomb victims,” 30 October 2017. Judgement included a further N38 billion Naira “for the total demining and reconstruction of the communities; rebuilding of public buildings, creation of mine centres, the construction of class rooms and other infrastructure.” See also, Tobias Lengnan Dapam, “Towards clearing abandoned civil war landmines,” People’s Daily, 24 November 2017.

[5] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 22 May 2019.

[6] Ibid., 24 May 2019.

[7] MAG, “Nigeria: 2016 – June 30th 2019 Explosive Ordnance Incident Map – Accessible/Inaccessible Areas in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe as of August 2019,” 22 August 2019.

[8] MAG, “Out of Sight: Landmines and the Crisis in Northeast Nigeria,” September 2018, p. 4. MAG states that their research revealed that almost 90% of the victims of explosive incidents were from antipersonnel landmines, with a casualty rate of almost 19 per day during 2017 and early 2018.

[9] Bruno Bouchardy, Field Coordinator, UNMAS Mali, and Michael Hands, Mine Action Officer, UN Office to the African Union, “Mission Report: UNMAS Explosive Threat Scoping Mission to Nigeria 3 to 14 April 2017,” April 2017, p. 3.

[10] Statement of UNMAS, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 8 June 2017.

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

[12]Landmine kills eight in NE Nigeria,” TimesLive (AFP), 19 March 2019.

[13] It is uncertain from available information if this device can be triggered by a person. Nigerian Army, “Troops thwart terrorist ambush,” Press Release, 23 June 2019.

[14]Boko Haram terror continues, 10 killed in fresh attacks,” Telangana Today (AFP), 7 March 2018.

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

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

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

[20] 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.

[21] Nigerian Army, “N5M Reward for any information on IED factories in Nigeria,” Press Release, 21 June 2018.

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

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

[25] 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.

[26] 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, former Czechoslovakia, France, and the UK. For details, see, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 202–203.

[27] 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.

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