"Nigeria becomes the first African country to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
"This landmark event represents our deep commitment to a treaty which establishes common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.
"We remain resolute and unyielding in our efforts to uphold the principle of ATT and, in particular, ensure that small arms and light weapons are appropriately transferred and access denied to terrorist groups, pirates, bandits and the like," Mr. Ashiru said while signing the treaty.
He noted that Nigeria co-sponsored the treaty and coordinated the African group throughout the process of negotiation of the treaty.
According to the minister, the adoption of the treaty was a realisation of efforts that started in 2006, following the adoption of the United Nations resolution 61/89.
Mr. Ashiru explained that the resolution recommended the establishment of common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.
The spokesperson for Control Arms, Anna Macdonald, in her remarks at the event, noted that throughout the negotiations on the ATT, Nigeria was a leader for the African continent.
"We are proud of Nigeria's leadership again today as Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru simultaneously signs and ratifies this first ever global agreement regulating the transfer of arms and ammunition.
"Africa has long suffered the impact of an arms trade that is out of control. From Somalia to Mali to the DRC, weapons have been entering conflict zones and increasing the level of violence for decades.
"Other African countries must now step forward and follow Nigeria's lead. The continent needs an ATT that is in effect and implemented as soon as possible.
"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," she said.