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Country Reports


The Federal Republic of Nigeria has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has been supportive of the Oslo Process and joined the consensus adoption of the convention at the conclusion of the negotiations in May 2008. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

While Nigeria did not attend the initial meeting to launch the Oslo Process in February 2007, it participated in all of the other international diplomatic conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. It also participated in the African regional conferences in Livingstone in March/April 2008 and Kampala in September 2008.

At the Wellington conference in February 2008, Nigeria called for a “strong and unambiguous definition, including the widest possible scope of its applicability.” Nigeria stated that it was “unimpressed with technical clarifications that seem to suggest that there are good munitions and bad munitions, and that only the bad ones should be put beyond use.”[1] Nigeria also advocated for a broad definition of cluster munition victim.[2] Nigeria endorsed the Wellington Declaration, indicating its intention to participate fully in the formal negotiations in Dublin.

At the conclusion of the Livingstone conference, Nigeria endorsed the Livingstone Declaration, which called on African states to support the negotiation in Dublin of a comprehensive treaty with a prohibition that should be “total and immediate.”[3] Campaigners in Nigeria stepped up their active engagement with the Nigerian government to urge them to support the convention and to raise public awareness on the issue.[4]

At the Dublin negotiations in May 2008, Nigeria called for a comprehensive prohibition with no exceptions and no transition period during which cluster munitions could still be used.[5] Nigeria also opposed the inclusion of provisions to facilitate “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party).[6] Nigeria initially opposed the inclusion of any technical characteristics in the definition, but stated that it would be flexible and listen to constructive ideas.[7] Nigeria joined the consensus adoption of the convention and at the closing ceremony declared that the convention had opened a new chapter in disarmament and international humanitarian law. Nigeria stated that while not perfect, the convention was ambitious and balanced and would stigmatize these “odious” weapons.[8]

In September 2008, Nigeria attended the Kampala regional conference and announced its intention to sign the convention at the Oslo signing conference in December.[9] Nigeria also endorsed the Kampala Action Plan, which declared that states should sign and “take all necessary measures to ratify the convention as soon as possible.”[10]

However, Nigeria attended the signing conference only as an observer. Nigeria reiterated its commitment to the convention and stated that as soon as its internal process was finished concluded, Nigeria would sign. Nigeria promised that this would “be sooner, rather than later.”[11]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Nigeria is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but imported them in the past and is thought to have a current stockpile. Jane’s Information Group reports that British-produced BL-755 cluster bombs are in service with the country’s air force.[12]

Sierra Leone has said that Nigerian ECOMOG peacekeepers used cluster munitions in Sierra Leone in 1997.[13] According to sources close to the Sierra Leonean military, in 1997 Nigerian forces operating as ECOMOG peacekeepers dropped two cluster bombs on Lokosama, near Port Loko. ECOMOG Force Commander General Victor Malu denied these reports.[14] According to media reports, Nigerian ECOMOG peacekeepers used French-produced BLG-66 Belouga cluster bombs in an attack on the eastern town of Kenema in Sierra Leone in 1997.[15]

[1] Statement of Nigeria, Session on Definitions, Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 19 February 2008.

[2] Statement of Nigeria, Session on Definitions, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 6 December 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[3] Livingstone Declaration, Livingstone Conference on Cluster Munitions, 1 April 2008.

[4] On 22 April 2008, the IANSA Women’s Network in Nigeria, the Nigerian Office of Oxfam GB, and Equity Advocates in Abuja held a press conference to urge the government to support a strong treaty. CMC, “Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs – What Happened,” 19 April 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[5] Statement of Nigeria, Committee of the Whole, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, 19 May 2008; and Statement of Nigeria, Committee of the Whole, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 23 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[6] Statement of Nigeria, Informal discussions on Interoperability, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 20 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[7] Statement of Nigeria, Committee of the Whole, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 26 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[8] Statements of Nigeria, Closing Ceremony, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 30 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[9] CMC, “Report Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 30 September 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[10] CMC, “Report on the Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 30 September 2008; and Kampala Action Plan, Kampala Conference, 30 September 2008.

[11] Statement of Nigeria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action. At the time, Nigerian officials told the CMC that Nigeria was prepared to sign, but the formal Full Powers document had been mistakenly signed by the Defense Minister instead of the Foreign Minister. In January, the Nigerian Embassy in London confirmed to the CMC that arrangements were underway in Nigeria to ensure that it would be able to sign in the coming months. Nigerian officials had indicated to the CMC that it might be able to sign on 18 March during a special event on the convention at the UN in New York, but this did not occur.

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

[13] Statement of Sierra Leone, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5 December 2008. Notes by CMC/WILPF. ECOMOG is the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, established in 1990 to intervene in the war in Liberia.

[14] UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Integrated Regional Information Network for West Africa, “IRIN-WA Weekly Roundup, 10/3/97,” www.africa.upenn.edu.

[15] “10 Killed in Nigerian raid in eastern Sierra Leone,” Agence France-Presse, 11 December 1997; and Human Rights Watch, “Cluster Munition Information Chart,” March 2009, www.hrw.org.