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NIGERIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Despite its support for the 1996 UN General Assembly resolution urging the vigorous pursuit of an international agreement banning antipersonnel mines, and its support for the 1998 UNGA resolution urging universalization and ratification of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has still not yet not signed the ban treaty. Nigeria participated as an observer in some, but not all, meetings of the Ottawa Process.

Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Nigeria procured its antipersonnel mines from Yugoslavia, Russia and Czechoslovakia. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Nigeria's stockpile of mines also includes MIAPID48 antipersonnel mines from France and Ranger AP mines from Britain.[1]

Landmines were laid during the Biafran War (1967 to 1970). In 1993, the US State Department reported that “all minefields laid during the Biafran war are reported cleared.”[2] In the 1990s, the Nigerian-led Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG) forces used landmines in Liberia and Sierra Leone (see these country entries). According to the Nigerian press, eleven Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion in Sierra Leone in September 1997.[3] There is no information on more recent use of landmines by Nigeria. A senior military official stated that Nigeria might use landmines as a weapon of last resort, such as in the border skirmishes with Cameroonian gendarmes in the disputed oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula.[4]

The Biafran war claimed a number of landmine victims, although their numbers have never been established.[5] Many of these are destitute and a number housed at the Oji Rehabilitation Centre in Engu State. These survivors are a common sight near the Centre begging for alms on the side of the Engu Expressway. There continue to be a small number of new victims from UXOs and possibly landmines left over from the Biafran war. The Nigerian press usually does not define what caused an explosion, calling them "bombs."[6]


[1]U.S. Department of Defense, “Mine Facts”, CD Rom.

[2]US Department of State, Hidden Killers, July 1993, p. 133.

[3]Nigerian Tribune, (Lagos), 3 August 1997.The Director of Defence Information, Colonel Godwin Ugbo, who confirmed the deaths said the eleven were among sixteen soldiers who had died from "various ailments and accidents."

[4]Lt. Col., Defence Headquarters, Lagos, January 1999.

[5]Vanguard, (Lagos), 6 July 1987.

[6]Punch, (Lagos), 20 June, 1987; New Nigerian, 3 August 1997.