MAG in Nigeria









MAG is working in Nigeria as part of our arms managment and destruction programme in the Sahel and West Africa region.


Weapons cutting

Arms management and destruction reduces the risk of weapons being diverted to the illicit arms trade.

Photo: MAG/Sean Sutton

The problems


Why MAG is in Nigeria

Improving management of weapons and ammunition has become a priority for many states in the Sahel and West Africa region, which have amassed large stockpiles due to conflict, cross-border insecurity, and the prevalence of non-state armed groups.

Limited monitoring and control of government-controlled small arms and light weapons (SALW) and ammunition represents a significant threat to security and stability due to the high risk of diversion to the illicit market.

In particular, the porous borders of states in the region mean that poor management of legally-held stocks, including surplus and obsolete weapons, is a key risk regionally as well as on the local and national level. 

Obsolete ammunition poses a further threat when incorrectly stored and can lead to accidental detonation and devastating impact on human life and vital infrastructure. 


Dr Samuel Ortom, Executive Governor of Benue State, cuts weapons in Nigeria with support provided by MAG Technical Field Manager.


How MAG is helping in Nigeria

MAG is working in Nigeria as part of our arms management and destruction programme in the Sahel and West Africa region. AMD is primarily about reducing the risk and impact of devastating unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS), and the risk of weapons and munitions being diverted to the illicit arms trade. UEMS and diversion both come at an enormous and devastating human cost. 

Our AMD work is motivated by the desire to have a positive impact on people and their prospects of socio-economic development. Activities in Nigeria include:


Undertaken in full partnership with national authorities, these are key to MAG’s AMD work: an assessment team evaluates the condition of the infrastructure and its surroundings, the condition of the weapons and ammunition stockpiles, as well as the stockpile management procedures and processes in place.

Unsecured weapons and munitions at an armoury in Burkina Faso.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


Weapons management practices that make people accountable for arms that have been assigned to them. Record-keeping is an essential component of weapons and munitions management.

Signing weapons in and out is a key part of record-keeping.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


AMD work aims to reduce the risk of diversion by putting in place physical security measures that can reduce risk of theft. Gun racks are normally a key component of MAG’s armoury rehabilitation assistance. These can be produced locally against standard designs.

Weapons racks like this one at an armoury in Burkina Faso reduce the risk of theft.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


Weapons marking acts as the basis of accountable management systems. MAG’s assistance provide training and expert guidance on weapons marking that is in line with international guiding standards and good practice.

Serial numbers being engraved into weapons at an armoury in Burkina Faso.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


MAG has developed a range of capacity building and training courses. They are always tailored to national and regional context, but draw on the framework of international norms, standards and guidelines.

MAG in Nigeria

A MAG Technical Field Manager delivers training on weapons cutting to army personnel in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria, in August 2016.

Photo: MAG Nigeria


This aims to improve the safe and accountable destruction of weapons and small arms ammunition. Destruction methods ensure that all working parts of a weapon are put beyond use. 

Weapons destruction by MAG in Nigeria

Weapons destruction by MAG in Nigeria.

All of MAG’s AMD assistance is carried out under the principle of national ownership. This means that MAG doesn’t try to address the insecure and poorly stored arms independently; it supports national authorities to do so.

Read more: MAG Nigeria Activity Update

Mine Risk Education in Borno State

The conflict with Boko Haram has left the North East region of Nigeria significantly contaminated with a range of explosive items, including improvised landmines, booby traps, and other devices. However, to date, the exact type and extent of land contamination is unknown. 

Ongoing conflict and attacks have prevented farmers from growing crops for other three consecutive years triggering a severe food crisis. Civilian casualties from explosive items have been reported since 2015 with the majority of these occurring when IDPs return to villages to resume agricultural activities. 

In March 2017, MAG secured funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to begin providing risk education for more than 20,000 people in Borno state. Risk education will improve safety and security for conflict-affected communities, support humanitarian agencies to provide urgent assistance in Borno state, and improve the understanding of the nature, impact and extent of the contamination.

For more information regarding MAGs work in Borno state, please contact MAG's Nigeria Country Director, Sinead McGrath at