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Nigeria continues to confront multiple security threats across its territory, with insecurity deepening in its northern and southern regions due to non-state armed actors and their activities.The country is involved in conflicts against the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram and has been a party to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) – which supports the Nigerian government in the fight against Boko Haram – since 2015.In contrast to other countries in the region, however, Nigeria has a long history of weapons and ammunition management policies and practices through its experience of collecting and destroying illicit weapons and ammunition in and around the Niger Delta.3

The Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) have been working on the ground to support the through-life management of ammunition, in collaboration with the Nigerian government. Efforts have included holding workshops to assist the government in establishing a baseline of existing ammunition management frameworks in line with international guidelines and standards, rehabilitating ammunition storage sites, conducting risk education activities for at-risk populations and carrying out technical assessments of ammunition practices.4

“10 Conflicts to Worry about in 2022: Nigeria,” Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), accessed May 19, 2022,

"Nigeria," Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated November 10, 2022,

UNIDIR, Weapons and Ammunition Management Country Insight: Nigeria (Geneva: UNIDIR, 2020),

4  “BICC Weapons and Ammunition Management Assessment Workshop in Nigeria: SIPRI,” Mapping ATT-Relevant Cooperation and Assistance Activities Database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2022,; “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, three accidental explosions have been reported in Nigeria.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Nigeria (1979–2021)

Year Location Owner/manager Deaths Injuries
2009 Lagos State (miltary) 1 0
2004 Kaduna State (miltary) 4 44
2002 Lagos State (miltary) 1,500 5,000

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported since 2014 in Nigeria.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Nigeria since 2014

Year Location Description
2022 Damaturu

A soldier was arrested in possession of 1 AK-47 rifle and 1 magazine containing 30 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.



A soldier was arrested with 112 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.



A soldier was arrested with about 300 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.



A police officer stole 1 pump-action gun, 1 Beretta pistol, 4 English revolver pistols and 50 rounds of 9 mm live ammunition.



14 police officers were dismissed for selling firearms and explosives illegally. Articles recovered included 14 AK-47 rifles with their numbers intact, 3 AK-47 with their numbers etched out, 1 pump action rifle, 1 locally made pistol, 42 empty magazines, 363 rounds of AK-47 live ammunition, 71 K2 live ammunition and 25 live cartridges.



An armed group stole arms and ammunition, a variety of armored vehicles and artillery guns during an attack in early January on the military base in Baga.



A police officer stole 11 G3 rifles and ammunition from the Kaduna Police Command armoury.

Source: “Exclusive: Nigerian Army Personnel Arrested with 'Stolen AK-47 Rifle, Ammunition' Hidden inside Sack in Yobe,” Sahara Reporters, May 10, 2022,; Lukman Abolade, “Under Buhari's Watch: How Theft, Illegal Sales of Arms to Criminals Contribute to Missing 178,459 Ammunition in Nigeria Police,” International Centre for Investigative Reporting, January 9, 2022,; “178,459 Fire Arms, Ammunition Missing from Police Armory - Audit Report,” Vanguard News, January 3, 2022,; Paula Rogo, “Nigerian Military Recovers Weapons Stolen by Boko Haram,” The Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2015,


Insufficient data on disposal of tonnes of ammunition in Nigeria.


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Nigeria:

  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles;
  • Training on new marking procedures, record-keeping and inventory management;
  • Strengthening of the physical infrastructure for ammunition management; and
  • Sensitisation for high-level authorities on legal provisions related to arms and ammunition and on their responsibilities for risks related to ammunition in storage.

Source: Nigeria, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, 2022),; "Needs Analysis Dataset," AMAT (Ammunition Management Advisory Team), 2022.

Published Date: Friday 17 of November 2023