Nigeria

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Nigeria ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 28 February 2023 and became a State Party on 1 August 2023. Nigeria has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in August–September 2022. Nigeria voted in favor of a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Nigeria provided an initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention in April 2023. It states that Nigeria has not produced cluster munitions and has no stockpiled cluster munitions, including for research and training purposes.

Policy

The Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 12 June 2009 and ratified it on 28 February 2023. The convention entered into force for Nigeria on 1 August 2023.

Nigeria provided an initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention on 12 April 2023, which stated that “Nigeria needs to enact specific legislation to enforce provisions of the Convention.”[1] The report covers calendar year 2022.

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. Nigeria attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 as an observer only, and said that it would sign the convention after completing internal processes.[2]

Nigeria subsequently signed the convention at the United Nations (UN) in New York in June 2009. Its Federal Executive Council approved ratification in June 2021, with Nigeria becoming the 111th State Party upon ratifying the convention in 2023.[3]

Nigeria has participated as an observer at several meetings of the convention, most recently the Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022, where it provided an update on its ratification progress. At the intersessional meetings in May 2022, Nigeria provided a report on the regional universalization workshop for the convention that it hosted in Abuja in March 2022.[4]

Nigeria voted in favor of a key UNGA resolution promoting implementation and universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2022.[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 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution expressing concern at 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. It has signed, but not ratified, the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production, transfer, and use

According to Nigeria’s initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention, provided in April 2023, Nigeria has not produced cluster munitions.[8]

Nigeria imported cluster munitions in the past.

Nigeria has denied using cluster munitions. 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. The mission’s commander, General Victor Malu, denied the accusation at the time.[9] Sierra Leone repeated the allegations in May 2012, with Nigeria repeating its denial again in September 2012, describing the claim as “wrong and incorrect.”[10]

The Nigerian Armed Forces warned in 2015 about the threat from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It alleged that Boko Haram, a non-state armed group (NSAG), had made IEDs from submunitions that had been removed from cluster munitions.[11]  

Stockpiling

Nigeria’s Article 7 transparency report submitted in April 2023 states that it does not possess any stockpiled cluster munitions, including for research and training purposes.[12]

Nigeria received United Kingdom (UK)-made BL755 cluster bombs in the past.[13] In 2012, Nigeria requested technical assistance and support from States Parties to destroy its cluster munition stocks.[14] At the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015, Nigeria reiterated the need for cooperation and assistance to fulfill its stockpile destruction obligations.[15]

 



[1] Nigeria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 March 2023. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.

[2] For details on Nigeria’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 223–224.

[3] Email from Mimidoo Achakpa, Coordinator, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women’s Network Nigeria, 23 June 2021.

[4] Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 16 May 2022.

[5]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[7] UNSC, “Resolution 2228 (2015),” 29 June 2015.

[8] Nigeria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 30 March 2023.

[9] According to sources close to the Sierra Leone military, in 1997, Nigerian forces operating as ECOWAS peacekeepers dropped two cluster bombs on Lokosama, near Port Loko. See, “IRIN-WA Weekly Roundup,” IRIN, 10 March 1997. Additionally, Nigerian ECOWAS peacekeepers were reported to have used French-produced BLG-66 Belouga cluster bombs in an attack on the eastern town of Kenema. See, “10 Killed in Nigerian raid in eastern Sierra Leone,” Agence France-Presse (AFP), 11 December 1997.

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

[11]Boko Haram has cluster bombs: Nigeria’s DHQ,” The News Nigeria, 8 October 2015. The Ministry of Defense did not name the type of cluster munitions depicted in photographs that it released 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. 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. See, “‘Boko Haram cluster bombs’ may come from Nigerian military - campaigners,” AFP, 13 October 2015; and Philip Obaji Jr., “Boko Haram’s Cluster-Bomb Girls,” The Daily Beast, 2 October 2016.

[12] Nigeria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B, C, and D, 30 March 2023.

[13] Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012. Jane’s Information Group reported that the Nigerian Air Force possessed BL755 cluster bombs. See, Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 843.

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

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