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Nigeria becomes first African nation to ratify new Arms Treaty

‘We hope that Nigeria will … play a leading role in encouraging other African states to get behind the treaty’ - Lucy Freeman

Nigeria’s ratification of the landmark global Arms Treaty this week is a welcome move that should pave the way for more African nations to get behind the treaty, Amnesty International said today.

Nigeria, which ratified the treaty on Tuesday, is one of four countries in the world to have now done so - alongside Iceland, Guyana, and Antigua & Barbuda.

Since it opened for signature on 3 June at the United Nations, 83 countries from every region of the world have signed the treaty, and numerous countries - including key arms-producing countries in the European Union - are currently in the process of ratification of the treaty. The treaty will enter into force shortly after 50 countries have ratified it.

Amnesty International Africa Deputy Director Lucy Freeman said:

“By signing and ratifying the lifesaving Arms Treaty, Nigeria has indicated its willingness to join the global society in ensuring strict control of the international trade in conventional arms.

“As one of the first handful of nations to ratify, we hope that Nigeria will promptly implement the treaty’s provisions at home and play a leading role in encouraging other African states to get behind the treaty.”

When in force the treaty will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

On average at least 500,000 people die every year and millions more are displaced and abused as a result of global armed violence and conflict.

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