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Nigeria pledges to end proliferation of small arms in West Africa

PHOTO: wsj.com

PHOTO: wsj.com

WORRIED by the ugly trend, the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM) has decried the proliferation of illicit arms along the borders of West African region with a vow to put an end to it.

Speaking at the opening of a two day annual meeting of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NATCOM) yesterday, the Chairman of PRESCOM Mr Emmanuel Imohe described the issue of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) in West Africa as “a hydra headed monster that must be resolved”.

Imohe, who was represented by the Programme Manager (PRESCOM) Mr Dickson Orji, pointed out that “the Nigerian Government is sufficiently seized with this problem and is committed to ensuring that we collectively dismantle the template from which the problems of insecurity are drawing support.

He said that, Nigeria is committed to dismantling the proliferation of illicit arms trade along the borders in the West African sub-region as it “has demonstrated this commitment by signing and ratifying the relevant international, regional and sub-regional instruments and legal regimes on the subject of SALW Control.’’

He commended NATCOM for organising the fora, adding that, it was providing a platform for peer review, exchange of ideas and strategies and establishing common grounds and constructive/collective efforts in combatting the menace.

On her part, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security ECOWAS Commission Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, said the proliferation of SALW posed a great challenge, especially in the Sahel region and Northern Nigeria.

Suleiman added that the porosity of the borders in the sub region allows easy accessibility of dangerous military-style weapons to non-state actors.

She said, the case of the Sahel region and Northern Nigeria in particular, revealed the deficiency in the enforcement capacity of the security forces, a situation being exploited by criminals to kill, maim and damage properties in our communities.

According to her, “this trend must be stopped by limiting state arms acquisition and continuous advocacy with the international community in order to effectively control arms transfers around the world”.

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