Today, 12 August, Nigeria becomes the 82nd UN Member State to sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and the 3rd to ratify the landmark agreement. Foreign Minister Dr. Olugbenga Ashiru signed and deposited Nigeria’s instrument of ratification at the UN in New York. Minister Ashiru made Nigeria’s commitment to the values of the Arms Trade Treaty clear in a statement after the signature and ratification.

“We remain resolute and unyielding in our efforts to uphold the principle of ATT and, in particular, ensure that small arms and light weapons is appropriately transferred and access denied to terrorist groups, pirates, bandits and the like.”

– Foreign Minister Dr. Olugbenga Ashiru

The West African state acted as a continental leader throughout negotiations and continues to show leadership on the road to implementation. After depositing the instrument of ratification, Minister Ashiru immediately met with Control Arms members, further indicating the positive relationship between Nigeria and civil society on arms control issues. Oxfam’s Head of Arms Control and Control Arms coalition Co-Chair, Anna Macdonald said:

“With over 80 countries’ signatures and several ratifications since the treaty opened for signature, there is momentum to urgently ensure the ATT becomes international law and starts saving lives. Fifty ratifications are needed for the treaty to enter into force, and we call on all states to get to work on their national legislation as soon as possible.”

Control Arms member, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) signaled that this was a proud day. Dr. Omolade Oladejo, Secretary General of IPPNW in Nigeria remarked:

“By signing and ratifying the ATT, Nigeria has solidified her role as a continental peace keeper, intent on addressing the problem of arms from its root. Dr Olugbenga Ashiru’s camaraderie towards the NGO community is commendable, and exemplifies the kind of partnership that must be forged to conquer arms. We the members of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Nigeria have pitched into efforts towards an ATT in coalition with Control Arms; and congratulate all other NGOs that have worked tirelessly to give the ATT the visibility it deserves.”

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