Practice Relating to Rule 73. Biological Weapons
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War mentions the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol and states:
There is no rule to prevent measures being taken to dry up springs and destroy water-wells from which the enemy may draw water or devastate crops by means of chemicals and bacteria which are not harmful to human beings. Since 1925 a great number of States have signed a protocol for the prohibition of the use in war of asphyxiating gases or bacteriological means of warfare.
The manual includes “using bacteriological methods of warfare” in its list of war crimes.
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1980, Nigeria reported that it “had complied fully with its obligations under the [1972 Biological Weapons Convention]. As Nigeria did not possess biological weapons, as defined in article I, it followed that it had no such weapons to destroy, as required by article II, or, indeed, to transfer.”
In 1995, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Nigeria stated that it was committed to the total prohibition of biological weapons.
At the Fourth Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1996, Nigeria stated: “It is our hope that all weapons of mass destruction – be they biological, … – will be under ban, their production prohibited and their transfer and use outlawed”.