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Nigeria has detailed counterterrorism provisions in its domestic law. A 2011 counterterrorism law was amended in 2013 and then again in 2022, in a law that made capital punishment the maximum sentence for certain terrorist offences. There is a carve-out in the law for the exercise of the fundamental human right of peaceful protest.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Section 1(3) of the 2022 Act redefines an act of terrorism as follows:

an act which is wilfully performed with the intention of furthering an ideology, whether political, religious, racial, or ethnic, and which –

(a) May seriously harm or damage a country or international organisation;

(b) unduly compels a government or an international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act;

(c) seriously intimidates a population;

(d) seriously destabilises or destroys the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation;

(e) influences a government or an international organisation by intimidation or coercion;

(f) violates the provisions of any international treaty or resolution to which Nigeria is a party, subject to the provisions of section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; and

(g) involves, causes or results in –

      (i) attack on a person's life, in the form of grievous bodily harm or death,

     (ii) kidnapping of a person,

     (iii) destruction of Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructural facility, including national critical information infrastructure, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, a public place or private property, which may likely endanger human life or result in major economic loss,

     (iv) the seizure of an aircraft, ship, or other means of public transport or conveying goods, or the diversion or use of such means of transportation or conveyance for the purposes of subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph,

     (v) the manufacture, possession, acquisition, transportation, transfer, supply or use of weapons, including explosives or biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons (BCRN weapons), as well as research into and development of BCRN weapons without lawful authority, and the receipt, possession, use, transfer, alteration, disposal or dispersal of nuclear or other radioactive material or devices,

     (vi) the release of dangerous substance, causing of fire, explosions or floods, the effect of which is to endanger human life,

     (vii) interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power, or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life,

     (viii) the release into the environment or any part thereof, or distribution or exposure of the public or any part to dangerous, hazardous, nuclear, or other radioactive or harmful substance, any toxic chemical, microbial or other biological agent or toxin, the effect of which is to endanger human life or to provoke substantial damage to property or to the environment,

     (ix) endangering or engaging in acts likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft, ship, train or any other means of transportation,

     (x) the bombing and other acts of violence at airports and other public places,

     (xi) the disruption of any computer system or the provision of services directly related to the supply of water, power, communications, infrastructure, banking or financial services, utilities, transportation, other essential infrastructure or any other fundamental natural resources, the effect of which is to endanger human life,

     (xii) the disruption of the provision of essential emergency services, including police, civil defence, medical and acts prejudicial to national security or public safety,

     (xiii) the propagation and dissemination of information or information materials in any form or mode calculated to cause panic, evoke violence or intimidate a government, person or group of persons, or

     (xiv) an act directed against a nuclear facility, or an act interfering with the operation of a nuclear facility, where the offender intentionally causes, or where he knows that the act is likely to cause, death or serious injury to a person or substantial damage to property or to the environment by exposure to radiation or release of radioactive substance, unless the act is undertaken in conformity with the provisions of existing laws.

Under section 1(4) of the Act, an act which "disrupts a service but is committed in pursuance of a protest, demonstration or stoppage of work is not a terrorist act within the meaning of this definition, provided that the act is not intended to result in any harm referred to in subsection (3) (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g)".

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Nigeria is a State Party to all of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party


Nigeria is also a State Party to one of the two regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention Signatory

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The 2022 Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act provides for the death penalty where death results from the commission of a terrorist act under Section 11 (offences against internationally protected persons), Section 24 (hostage-taking, kidnapping and high-jacking), Section 35 (offences against the safety of civil aviation), Section 36 (offences against safety at airports serving military or civil aviation), Section 37 (offences against the safety of ships or fixed platforms), 38 (use and discharge of BCRN weapons and other substances from a ship or fixed platform), Section 39 (Transportation of BCRN weapons or other dangerous substances on board a ship or fixed platform), Section 42 (offences with explosives or other lethal devices), Section 43 (handling of radioactive, nuclear material or device), Section 44 (use of radioactive or nuclear material), and Section 45 (offences relating to nuclear facilities).

The 2011 Act (as amended) had set the maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction for certain terrorist offences. 

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Nigeria has considerable counterterrorism capacity in both its federal police and its army.

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is the national co-ordinating body for Nigeria’s security and law enforcement agencies, and was established pursuant to the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act of 2013.The Office is currently regulated by section 4 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022. The Office is headed by the National Security Adviser (NSA) who occupies an advisory role and reports directly to the President.

The National Security Adviser is tasked with providing support to all the relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies and military services to prevent and combat terrorism within Nigeria ensuring the effective formulation and implementation of a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, and building capacity for the effective discharge of the functions of all relevant security agencies under the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act or any other law in Nigeria.

The Counter Terrorism Centre (CTC), established in 2012, is responsible for the co-ordination and implementation of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST) and the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE). The Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022 established the National Counter Terrorism Centre within the Office as the national co-ordinating body responsible for the harmonisation of all counter-terrorism and terrorism financing efforts within the country, as well as the co-ordination of all counter-terrorism policies, strategies, plans, and support in the performance of the functions of the National Security Advisor. It also charges the Attorney-General with the constitution of the Nigeria Sanctions Committee which is responsible for the formulation and provision of general guidelines on designations made under the Act and to advise on the effective implementation of the UNSC resolutions relating to terrorism financing and proliferation financing, and associated instruments of the African Union and ECOWAS.


Nigeria 2022 Prevention of Terrorism (Amendment) Act

Nigeria 2011 Terrorism Prevention Act

Nigeria 2013 Terrorism (Amendment) Act