Nigeria

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 September 2021

Summary

Nigeria signed the convention in June 2009. A proposal to ratify the convention was reportedly approved by the government in June 2021. Nigeria last participated in a meeting of the convention in September 2019. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2020.

Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions but it imported them. Nigeria has sought support and technical assistance to destroy its stockpiled cluster munitions.

Policy

The Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 12 June 2009.

In June 2021, the Federal Executive Council reportedly approved a memo recommending ratification of the convention.[1] Nigerian officials have expressed the government’s intent to ratify the convention over the past decade, while extensive stakeholder consultations have been held on the matter.[2]

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.[3] Nigeria subsequently signed the convention at the UN in New York in June 2009.

Nigeria has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2019, where it expressed deep concern at the use of cluster munitions.[4] It was invited to but did not attend the first part of the convention’s Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020.

Nigeria voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in December 2020.[5] Nigeria has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Nigeria voted in favor of a 2014 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution expressing concern at the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan.[6] Nigeria also voted in favor of a 2015 UNSC resolution on Sudan that expressed concern at evidence of cluster munition use in Darfur.[7]

Nigeria is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) but has not yet ratified it.

Use, production, and transfer

Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions but imported them and may have used cluster munitions in the past.

Sierra Leone alleged that Nigerian peacekeepers participating in an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) monitoring mission used cluster munitions in Sierra Leone in 1997, but the mission’s Force Commander, General Victor Malu, denied the allegation at the time.[8] In May 2012, Sierra Leone repeated the allegation and Nigeria repeated its denial again in September 2012, calling the finding “wrong and incorrect.”[9]

The Nigerian Armed Forces warned in 2015 about the threat from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which it alleged Boko Haram had made from submunitions removed from cluster munitions.[10] According to media reports, the cluster munitions could have been stolen from Nigerian military ammunition stocks or received from smugglers who obtained them from Libyan arms depots.[11]

Stockpiling

Nigeria stockpiles cluster munitions, including United Kingdom (UK)-made BL755 cluster bombs.[12]

In 2012, Nigeria requested technical assistance and support from States Parties to destroy the BL755 cluster bombs.[13] It again requested “cooperation and assistance” to fulfill its stockpile destruction obligations during the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2015.[14]

Nigeria has not indicated if it intends to retain any cluster munitions for research or training purposes.



[1] Email from Mimidoo Achakpa, Network Coordinator, IANSA Women's Network Nigeria, 23 June 2021.

[2] Previously, in September 2019, Nigeria said that the convention was “before the National Assembly receiving necessary attention as stipulated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” and will be “ratified as soon as the legislative processes are completed.” Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 September 2019. See also, Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, Norway, 11 September 2012; 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, Lao PDR, 10 November 2010. Notes by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

[3] 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.

[4] Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 September 2019. Nigeria has participated in every Meeting of States Parties except in 2014 and 2017–2018. Nigeria attended the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2015, and intersessional meetings in 2011–2012 and 2014. Nigeria has also attended regional workshops on the convention, such as one held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2016.

[5]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020.

[7] UNSC Resolution 2228, 29 June 2015.

[8] According to sources close to the Sierra Leone military, in 1997 Nigerian forces operating as Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (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 (AFP), 11 December 1997.

[9] Statement of Sierra Leone, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, Ghana, 28 May 2012; and statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, Norway, 11 September 2012.

[10]Boko Haram has cluster bombs: Nigeria’s DHQ,” The News Nigeria, 8 October 2015. The Ministry of Defence did not name the type of cluster munitions depicted in photographs of the weapons that it said Nigerian Army engineers in Adamawa state recovered from arms caches found in areas contested by Boko Haram. However, the photographs showed submunitions from French-made BLG-66 cluster munitions, which is the same type of munition that Nigeria is alleged to have used in Sierra Leone in 1997.

[11]‘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 2016.

[12] 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 BL755 cluster bombs. Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 843.

[13] Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, Norway, 11 September 2012.

[14] See, for example, Croatia Progress Report, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 6 October 2015.


Impact

Last updated: 20 April 2021

Jump to a specific section of the profile:

Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country summary

At the Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in November 2011, the Federal Republic of Nigeria declared it had cleared all known antipersonnel mines from its territory. Since 2015, numerous incidents involving both civilian and military casualties from landmines and a range of other explosive devices, locally produced and planted by Boko Haram, have been reported in the northeast of the country.[1]

At the end of 2019, Nigeria reported improvised mine contamination on its territory, and submitted a Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 extension request in November 2020. The extent of contamination from mines and other explosive devices resulting from the armed conflict between Boko Haram, the Nigerian military, and the Multi-National Task Force, is not known. All clearance is conducted by the army and the police with support from paramilitary groups. The army’s priority is to provide demining support for military operations.

The overwhelming majority of casualties in Nigeria were caused by improvised mines. Risk education is coordinated by the Mine Action Sub Working Group, co-chaired by the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS). The primary risk education target groups are internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities, refugees, and returnees.

Nigeria passed a disability rights law for the first time in 2019, but it was yet to be enforced. Less than 60% of health facilities in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states were fully functioning. In 2019, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided psychosocial support and supported nine hospitals and one orthopedic center.

Treaty status

Treaty status overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party

Article 5 clearance deadline: 31 December 2021 (first extension)

Convention on Cluster Munitions

Signatory

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party

 

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Nigeria was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in contaminated 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.[2]

As a result of the armed conflict between Boko Haram, the Nigerian military, and the Multi-National Task Force, incidents involving landmines and other explosive devices have been reported in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.[3] Clashes between state forces and several armed groups continued in 2019.[4] In November 2019, Nigeria reported improvised mine contamination on its territory and stated that it intended to submit an extension request in order to comply with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty.[5] The request submitted in November 2020 did not contain any details, work plan, or resource mobilization strategy, but requested an interim extension until 31 December 2021 “to present [a] detailed report on contamination, progress made and work plan for implementation.”[6]

Nigeria has not yet reported on the location of all suspected or confirmed mined areas under its jurisdiction or control and on the status of programs for the destruction of all antipersonnel mines.[7] Nigeria has not submitted a Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report since 2012.

Management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination overview[8]

National mine action management actors

Inter-Ministerial Committee to develop a national mine action strategy and a work plan for survey and clearance

United Nations Agencies

UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)

Other actors

Mine Action Sub Working Group, co-chaired by the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement and UNMAS

Mine Action Technical Working Group

Mine action legislation

None

Mine action strategic and operational plans

UNMAS advised and supported Nigeria in developing a mine action strategy and national mine action standards

 

Coordination

In 2019, Nigeria formed an Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked with developing a national mine action strategy and a work plan for survey and clearance. The Committee is comprised of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the North-East Development Commission, the National Emergency Management Agency, and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs.[9] Nigeria had planned to establish a mine action authority, but in 2020 progress was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

There is no structured mine action program in Nigeria. Both Nigeria’s armed forces and its police carry out explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) activities and explosive remnants of war (ERW) clearance. The state police have EOD units that support the army in clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive devices. The army’s ERW clearance is primarily focused on facilitating military operations and clearing roads and areas to facilitate access for troops to carry out attacks on Boko Haram and to keep military supply routes open.[11]

Strategies and policies

The Mine Action Sub Working Group co-chaired by the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement and UNMAS provides planning, coordination, and technical advice to support plans for the resettlement of IDPs and for the delivery of risk education, survey, and clearance.[12]

Information management

Mine action data is recorded on the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database and informs the humanitarian response.[13]

Risk education management and coordination

Risk education management and coordination overview

Government focal points

Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement

Coordination mechanisms

Mine Action Sub Working Group

 

Coordination

The Mine Action Sub Working Group coordinates risk education activities, co-chaired by the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement and UNMAS.[14] The Working Group provides planning, coordination, and technical advice to support risk education activities.[15]

Victim assistance management and coordination

Laws and policies

No specific victim assistance coordination was reported. Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development is responsible for persons with disabilities.[16]

Nigeria passed a disability rights law for the first time in 2019. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. There were however no reports the law had been enforced.[17]

The 2016 National Health Policy provides for access to healthcare for persons with disabilities. However, it was reported that persons with disabilities faced discrimination and social stigma in Nigeria.[18]

Impact

Contamination

The extent of landmine or ERW contamination in Nigeria is unknown.

Landmine contamination

As of November 2019, Nigeria had not been able to conduct a comprehensive survey to determine the extent of the contamination from mines and other explosive devices.[19] As part of a preliminary investigation, the Inter-Ministerial Committee found that victim-activated improvised mines had been recently used in Nigeria.[20] (See Nigeria’s mine ban profile for more information).

Incidents involving landmines and other explosive devices have been reported in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states; with Borno state being 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.[21]

A November 2015 assessment in Adamawa and Borno states by the international demining organization Danish Demining Group (DDG) had noted local community reports of a number of local government areas in Borno state they thought needed clearance, including Bama, Dikwa, Gwoza, Kala-Balge, Kukawa, Marte, and Ngala.[22] Interviewees identified contamination including antipersonnel and antivehicle mines, a variety of body-borne, vehicle-borne, and remotely controlled devices, as well as cluster munition remnants, mortars, rockets, and rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).[23]

In 2015, the Nigerian army warned civilians of the threat of improvised devices using adapted submunitions.[24]

UNMAS carried out a scoping mission to the three northeastern states in April 2017 to assess the extent of the threat from munitions, ERW, and landmines. It received reports of the use of both antipersonnel and antivehicle mines of an improvised nature around defensive positions.[25] It reported that Boko Haram had made significant use of pressure-plate-activated mines on main supply routes, primarily to attack military convoys.[26] UNMAS reported in 2020 that non-state armed groups’ use of improvised mines increasingly targeted civilians.[27]

Contamination from mines and other explosive devices has had a serious humanitarian impact, impeding the return of IDPs and exacerbating the crisis in the region.[28] In October 2016, the governor of Adamawa state confirmed that many IDPs continued to be unable to return to their farms due to a fear of landmines.[29] Roads were closed to civilian traffic by the military due to the presence of mines or other explosive devices and there were numerous reports of civilian casualties and farmers who feared returning to work their fields, contributing to worsening food shortages.[30] Humanitarian access and recovery efforts were also impeded by the presence of mines.[31]

Casualties

Casualties overview[32]

Casualties

All known mine/ERW casualties (for all time through 2019)

1,281 (325 killed; 954 injured; and 2 with the survival outcome unknown)

 

Casualties in 2019

Annual total

239 (increase from 147 in 2018)

 

Survival outcome

110 killed; 127 injured; 2 unknown

Device type causing casualties

192 improvised mine; 38 ERW; 9 mine/ERW

Civilian status

87 civilians; 121 military; 31 unknown

Age and gender

133 adults (130 men; 3 women)

7 children (all boys)

99 age and gender unknown

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war.

Casualties in 2019: details

In 2019, 239 mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Nigeria. Most casualties were caused by improvised mines. This is similar to the 235 improvised mine casualties recorded in 2017 from data collected by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG). The information on casualties in Nigeria recorded by MAG from January 2016 through March 2018 resulted in an improved understanding of the extent of casualties and the impact of improvised mines in Nigeria.[33] Prior to MAG’s data being made available, the Monitor recorded two mine casualties in Nigeria in 2002 and 18 casualties in 2015.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that in 2019, “some 230 people were killed by [improvised explosive devices] IEDs and more than 300 injured.”[34] UNMAS also reported that “hundreds of civilians to include women and children have been killed and injured” by landmines of an improvised nature in 2019.[35]

There is no injury surveillance system in Nigeria. UNMAS manages a mine/ERW casualty database which contains disaggregated data for northeast Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin from 2016 to present. The data collected by UNMAS is however partial given the absence of a nation-wide injury surveillance system.[36]

At least 1,281 mine/ERW casualties have been reported in Nigeria (325 killed; 954 injured; and two for whom the survival outcome is unknown). In a compensation claim of 2012, 493 survivors “pre-enumerated by the Ministry of Defence” were included as confirmed victims of mines/ERW for entitlements by the Economic Community of West African States community court.[37] The Monitor database includes an additional 788 mine/ERW casualties for Nigeria, recorded between 2012 and 2019, with 325 people killed, 461 injured, and the survival outcome of two persons was unknown.[38]

Addressing the impact

Mine action

Operators and service providers

Clearance operators

National

Armed forces

Police

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

International

Danish Demining Group (DDG), since 2015

Mines Advisory Group (MAG), since 2016 (non-technical survey)

 

All clearance in Nigeria is conducted by the army and the police with support from paramilitary groups. UNMAS reported in 2019 that the army remained in charge of clearance.[39] The United States (US) continued to provide equipment and training to Nigeria’s EOD teams in 2019.[40] In April 2017, a senior Nigerian military commander informed UNMAS that due to limited resources, the army’s priority was to provide demining support for military operations, and that additional equipment, ongoing support and refresher training was needed for humanitarian demining.[41]

As part of its efforts to strengthen national capacity, UNMAS was planning to train Nigeria’s Police Force and the Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect civilians from mines/ERW in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.[42]

Clearance

No landmine clearance was reported in Nigeria for 2019.

In 2017 the army’s priority was to provide demining support for military operations. The army lacked the capacity to undertake humanitarian demining. It called for additional equipment, ongoing support, and training. The army and police received some equipment and training in 2019.

At the end of 2019, Nigeria reported improvised mine contamination on its territory, and submitted a Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 extension request in November 2020.[43] The request did not contain any details, work plan, or resource mobilization strategy, but requested an interim extension until 31 December 2021.[44]

Land release: landmines

In 2018–2019, MAG conducted “light-touch” non-technical survey (NTS) in Bama, Gubio, Gwoza, and Konduga in Borno state. This was based on collecting information from individuals during mine risk education sessions, confirming the information and handing it over to the security forces.[45]

Since August 2018, UNMAS conducted eight NTS in Bama, Monguno, Ngala, and Nganzai, following which it identified and marked five confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs).[46] UNMAS was planning to conduct NTS in temporary accessible areas and in areas frequented by IDPs and host communities for livelihood activities.[47]

Deminer safety

Military casualties have been reported among soldiers clearing mines. In 2015, two soldiers were killed, and two others seriously wounded during clearance operations in Gudumbali town.[48] UNMAS reported in April 2017 that manual render-safe procedures were the primary method used by the Nigerian military EOD teams, which could be contributing to a high number of casualties among EOD personnel.[49]

Risk education

Operators and service providers

Risk education operators[50]

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

National

Youth Awaken Foundation

Mentored by the Mine Action Sub Working Group to deliver risk education in northeast Nigeria

International

UNMAS

Risk education sessions for affected communities, humanitarian workers, UN staff members, government officials, and health care workers

UNICEF

Limited risk education

DDG

Emergency EORE in Borno and Yobe states

MAG

Risk education sessions for IDPs and host communities in Borno state

Note: EORE=explosive ordnance risk education; IDP=internally displaced person.

Beneficiary numbers

Beneficiaries of risk education in 2019[51]

Risk education operator

Men

Boys

Women

Girls

MAG

18,865

37,704

40,825

36,086

 

UNICEF reported a total of 10,339 beneficiaries comprising 4,610 children and 5,729 adults in 2019. Between January 2019 and April 2020, UNMAS reported a total of 36,422 beneficiaries.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that risk education activities in northeast Nigeria reached 386,589 people in 2019.[52]

Implementation

Target groups

As part of their risk education efforts, MAG and UNMAS targeted aid workers, IDPs, host communities, refugees, and returnees.[53] Risk education material developed by UNMAS covered improvised mines and other types of IEDs.[54]

Delivery methods

Through the setup of the Humanitarian Hub Campaign, UNMAS sensitizes and trains aid workers on how to prevent incidents and safely remove explosive remnants.[55] UNMAS also conducted a training of trainers for 14 volunteers of a civil society organization,[56] and conducted a “train-the-trainer” pilot project targeting 100 vulnerable young men and women from Maiduguri, in Borno state, and who were employed to transmit knowledge to vulnerable populations.[57]

In addition to traditional risk education activities, in 2019, UNMAS was developing billboards and short movies. It was also exploring the use of a Risk Education Talking Device in order to reach inaccessible at-risk population.[58]

In 2019, UNICEF mainstreamed risk education in family center activities, and also trained 17 NGO staff and 45 social workers in risk education.[59] MAG risk education sessions were specifically tailored to children, using puppets for these sessions.[60] DDG risk education activities included the development of risk education capacity for community focal points, local authorities and networks.[61]

Major developments in 2020

Mine action actors adapted to the new constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic by decreasing the number of participants in risk education sessions and working on radio messaging in order to mitigate the decrease of direct beneficiaries.[62]

In 2020, the Mine Action Sub Working Group was planning to conduct risk education, mapping and marking of hazardous areas, and the identification of survivors and affected communities in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.[63]

The National Environment Management Agency and the State Emergency Management Agency was expected to be accredited for risk education activities in 2020.[64]

Victim assistance

Victim assistance providers and activities

Victim assistance operators[65]

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Governmental

National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala-Kano (NOHD)

Rehabilitation, including prosthetics

State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri (SSH-M)

Emergency medical care

International

UNMAS

Emergency medical care and psychosocial support

Mine Action Sub Working Group

Referral of survivors to relevant services

ICRC

  • Support to health facilities, mobile surgical team to treat wounded people in the northeast, training of medical personnel in weapon-wound surgery and emergency-room trauma care, first-aid training sessions
  • Support to the rehabilitation sector including providing free prosthetics, orthotics, and other mobility aids transport and accommodation and training
  • Mental health and psychosocial support

 

Major Developments in 2019

Medical care and rehabilitation

There was a serious shortage of skilled health care workers, in particular in areas where the armed conflict is ongoing. Less than 60% of health facilities in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states were fully functioning.[66] The State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri (SSH-M) treated patients injured in the conflict in the northeast, with donations of supplies, equipment, incentives for staff, and coaching from the ICRC.[67] UNMAS supported the provision of first-aid and emergency trauma bag training to police force personnel.[68]

The ICRC provided support to nine hospitals, as well as the National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala-Kano (NOHD).[69] In 2019, the ICRC supported the NOHD with prostheses, orthoses and mobility aids.[70] The ICRC also supported the construction of a physical rehabilitation center at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital and gave scholarships for prosthetics students.[71]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

There were state-operated vocational training centers to train persons with disabilities living in extreme poverty.[72]

UNMAS provided psychosocial support in northeast Nigeria.[73] The ICRC provided training and cash grants for income-generating activities.[74]

 


[2] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 29 November 2011. In January 2017, a civil war-era landmine was found in Ebonyi state, which villagers thought was an improvised explosive device (IED). Police forensics concluded it was a landmine left over from the conflict that ended 47 years ago, which had washed up in a river. A bomb squad destroyed the device, and according to the police, the area was searched, and no evidence of other contamination was found. James Eze, “Nigeria: Civil War Explosive Found in Ebonyi Community – Police,” AllAfrica, 17 January 2017.

[4] ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, p. 212.

[5] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[6] Nigeria Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 10 November 2020.

[7] Final Report of the Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 21 January 2013, p. 10.

[8] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019; Protection Cluster, “Protection: monthly update,” 11 September 2020; and UNMAS, “Annual Report 2019,” April 2020, pp. 20 and 24.

[9] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[10] Lionel Pechera, “Northeast Nigeria Mine Action Update,” Briefing to the Mine Action Support Group, 15 October 2020.

[11] Danish Deming Group, “Mine Action Assessment: Northeastern Nigeria (Adamawa and Borno States) 1–15 November 2015,” undated.

[12] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Protection Cluster, “Protection: monthly update,” 11 September 2020.

[16] United States (US) Department of States, “2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,” 11 March 2020, p. 37.

[17] Ibid., p. 36.

[18] Ibid. p. 37.

[19] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[20] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24]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 Phil Hazlewood, “‘Boko Haram cluster bombs’ may come from Nigerian military,” AFP, 13 October 2015.

[25] 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.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Lionel Pechera, “Northeast Nigeria Mine Action Update,” Briefing to the Mine Action Support Group, 15 October 2020.

[28] Hamza Idris and Ibrahim Sawab, “Nigeria: Liberated Areas – Why IDPs Can’t Return Home,” AllAfrica, 7 March 2015; Ibrahim Sawab and Hamisu Kabiru 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.

[29] Kabiru R. Anwar and Romoke W. Ahmad, “Nigeria: Fear of Landmines Scares Adamawa Farmers, Jibrilla says,” AllAfrica, 24 October 2016.

[30] Ibrahim Sawab and Hamisu Kabiru Matazu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Plying Borno Roads Still a Nightmare,” AllAfrica, 9 May 2015; Hamza Idris and Ibrahim Sawab, “Nigeria: Liberated Areas – Why IDPs Can’t Return Home,” AllAfrica, 7 March 2015; Kevin Sieff, “A famine unlike we have ever seen,” The Washington Post, 13 October 2016; OCHA, “Humanitarian Needs OverviewNigeria,” December 2020, p. 18.

[31] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 October 2020.

[32] Unless otherwise indicated, casualty data for 2019 is based on: email from Lionel Pechera, Programme Coordinator, UNMAS, 29 September 2020; and Monitor analysis of Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) data for calendar year 2019. Approved citation: Clionadh Raleigh, Andrew Linke, Håvard Hegre, and Joakim Karlsen, “Introducing ACLED-Armed Conflict Location and Event Data,” Journal of Peace Research, Issue 47(5), 2010, pp. 651–660.

[33] MAG, “Landmines and the Crisis in Northeast Nigeria,” September 2018; and “Boko Haram landmines in Nigeria killed at least 162 in two years – study,” The Guardian, 23 September 2018.

[34] UNHCR, “Landmines, improvised explosive devices pose deadly risks for displaced in Sahel and Lake Chad,” 28 July 2020.

[36] Email from Lionel Pechera, Programme Coordinator, UNMAS, 29 September 2020.

[37] Ikechukwu Nnochiri and Dennis Agbo, “N88bn compensation to victims of Biafra war: Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Enugu, Benue to benefit,” Vanguard, 31 October 2017; and Ikechukwu Nnochiri, “N88bn compensation: FG yet to pay us — Biafra war victims,” Vanguard, 8 January 2018.

[38] These casualties were recorded from 2015 through the end of 2019. Another two casualties were recorded in the Monitor database as injured in 2002. These may have been included in the pre-2012 figure and have not been added to the country total.

[39] UNMAS presentation, “IED in Northeast Nigeria,” undated but July 2019.

[40] US Air Force, “US EOD, air advisors train Nigerian Armed Forces,” 17 October 2019; US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria, “IED Defeat training with Nigerian soldiers strengthens partnerships,” 6 June 2019.

[41] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS Explosive Threat Scoping Mission to Nigeria 3 to 14 April 2017,” April 2017, p. 5.

[42] UNMAS, “Northeast Nigeria,” October 2020; and UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[43] Statement of Nigeria, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[44] Nigeria Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 10 November 2020.

[45] Email from Nina Seecharan, MAG, 2 October 2018; and MAG, “Annual Report 2018-2019,” 7 February 2020, p. 20.

[46] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Their unit had been clearing mines along the Gwoza-Yamteke road and seized a bomb-making facility in what formerly was a chemistry laboratory at the Dikwa School of Agriculture. Ibrahim Sawab and Hamisu Kabiru Matazu, “Nigeria: Boko Haram – Plying Borno Roads Still a Nightmare,” AllAfrica, 9 May 2015; and Peter Clottey, “Nigerian Army Disables Boko Haram Explosives,” Voice of America News, 5 August 2015.

[49] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS Explosive Threat Scoping Mission to Nigeria 3 to 14 April 2017,” April 2017, p. 5.

[50] OCHA, “North-east Nigeria: humanitarian situation update,” 14 February 2020, p. 8; “Nigeria Sector Status: Mine Action Sub-Sector,” 2 August 2020; and Risk Education Strategic Monitoring Questions data for 2019, provided by Hugues Laurenge, Child Protection, Specialist, UNICEF, 2 June 2020.

[51] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[53] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020; and UNMAS, “Northeast Nigeria,” October 2020; and MAG, “Annual Report 2018–2019,” 7 February 2020, p. 20.

[54] UN General Assembly, “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices: Report of the Secretary-General,” 17 July 2020, p. 9.

[56] UNMAS, “Where we work: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[57] UNMAS, “Annual Report 2019,” April 2020, p. 10.

[58] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[59] Risk Education Strategic Monitoring Questions data for 2019, provided by Hugues Laurenge, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, 2 June 2020.

[60] MAG, “Annual Report 2018–2019,” 7 February 2020, p. 20.

[61] DDG, “Where we work: Nigeria,” undated.

[62] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020; and Protection Sector Working Group, “Nigeria national protection sector working group: COVID-19 impact on humanitarian response,” April 2020.

[63] UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020; and OCHA, “Humanitarian Response Plan: Nigeria,” March 2020, p. 88.

[64] OCHA, “Humanitarian Response Plan: Nigeria,” March 2020, p. 88.

[65] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: 2019 Annual Report,” June 2020, p. 24; ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, pp. 212 and 215; UNMAS, “UNMAS welcomes Japan’s USD 236kcontribution for life-saving humanitarian assistance in Northeast Nigeria,” 4 April 2020; and UNMAS, “Programmes: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020; and OCHA, “Humanitarian Response Plan: Nigeria,” March 2020, p. 89.

[66] Health Sector Nigeria, “Health Sector Bulletin December 2019,” 13 January 2020.

[67] ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, p. 215.

[68] UNMAS, “Where we work: Nigeria,” 30 April 2020.

[69] ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, p. 115.

[70] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: 2019 Annual Report,” June 2020, p. 24.

[71] Ibid.; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, p. 215.

[72] US Department of States, “2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,” 11 March 2020, p. 37.

[74] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: 2019 Annual Report,” Geneva, June 2020, p. 24; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” June 2020, p. 215.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 12 November 2020

Policy

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 convention’s Fourth Review Conference in Oslo in November 2019, where it provided its first update on new use of landmines by a non-state armed group (NSAG). Nigeria did not attend the intersessional meetings held online in June–July 2020.

It is unclear if Nigeria is in violation of its Article 5 obligations from any residual contamination from the Biafran Civil 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 had 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 within 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).

Use

Boko Haram militants have used landmines, improvised landmines, and other types of IEDs in attacks, primarily in the northeast of Nigeria. Nigeria has not provided an Article 7 report since 2012, which would update States Parties regarding any new mine use within the country.

At the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fourth Review Conference, Nigeria stated that NSAGs had been producing and using antipersonnel landmines of an improvised nature in the northeast of the country. Nigeria stated that due to insecurity it had been unable to conduct a comprehensive survey to determine the extent of the contamination in the most affected states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Nigeria has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to develop a National Mine Action Strategy and to prepare a work plan for survey and clearance. Nigeria has stated that it “wishes to comply with the obligations of the APMBC [Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention], namely preparing an updated Article 7 transparency report and by developing an Article 5 extension request to work audaciously towards the clearance of all mined areas in order to meet the 2025 Convention deadline. The Committee’s preliminary investigation has discovered the use of victim-activated Improvised Explosive Devices which fall under the definition of AP [Anti-Personnel] mines according to the Convention. It is expected that the Committee’s Article 7 report will provide details on all suspected and confirmed improvised landmine contamination areas.”[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, the United Nations Mine Action Service (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 threatened communities in nearby areas of the Lake Chad Basin.[10] In May 2020, the Nigeria Security Index reported that 99% of the attacks by Boko Haram over a 10-year period used landmines and other explosive devices, but did not differentiate by type.[11]

Since 2016, Nigeria has experienced several incidents appearing to involve improvised antipersonnel mines.[12] On 18 March 2019, eight people in a vehicle were killed by a roadside mine near Warabe village in Borno state.[13] In June 2019, the Nigerian Army published photographs of two pressure plate-activated explosive devices encountered during counter-insurgency activities in Borno State.[14] On 6 March 2018, four loggers were killed when they stepped on landmines left by Boko Haram near Dikwa, 90km east of Maiduguri in Borno state. The loggers had gone to retrieve a vehicle abandoned the previous day following a Boko Haram ambush.[15] On 21 August 2017, at least two 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, which was allegedly planted by the insurgents.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] The Nigerian Army released a series of photographs showing its engineers removing items planted along the Gwoza-Yamteke highway.[19] In August 2016, a Nigerian media outlet reported that the army was involved in clearing Boko Haram landmines.[20] (See Nigeria’s mine action profile for more details). That month, the Nigerian Army reportedly arrested five Boko Haram militants who were alleged to be laying landmines.[21]

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 IED factories.[22] 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.”[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] 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 Cantonment, Lagos.[26]

In its initial Article 7 transparency report, submitted in 2004, Nigeria declared a stockpile of 3,364 Dimbat mines for research and training.[27] In 2005, Nigeria reported that all of its retained mines had been destroyed.[28] 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.”[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]



[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 inter-ministerial 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. The judgement included a further 38 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] Statement of Nigeria, Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 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, Geneva, 8 June 2017.

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

[13]Landmine kills eight in NE Nigeria,” TimesLive (Agence France-Presse), 19 March 2019.

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

[15]Boko Haram terror continues, 10 killed in fresh attacks,” Telangana Today (Agence France-Presse), 7 March 2018.

[16]Au moins deux morts dans l'explosion d'une mine anti-personnelle au Nigeria” (“At least two dead in anti-personnel mine explosion in Nigeria”), Voice of America (Afrique), 21 August 2017.

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

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

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

[21] 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.

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

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

[25] Interview with Maj. Gen. Yellow-Duke, Chief of Operations, Nigerian Army, in Bamako, 15 February 2001.

[26] 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.

[27] 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.

[28] 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.

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


Support for Mine Action