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ECOWAS seeks multi-sectoral approach to tackle arms proliferation

ECOWAS seeks multi-sectoral approach to tackle arms proliferation

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called for a multi-sectoral approach to address the challenge of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

ECOWAS made the call at the end of a three-day workshop held with relevant stakeholders in Calabar.

In a statement issued on Monday, on the outcome of the workshop, Abdel-Fatal Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, underscored the need for collective efforts in tackling arms proliferation.

Musah, who was represented by Ahoba Piex, advocated the establishment of a National Commissions on Small Arms (NATCOMs) to tackle the challenge in the region He stressed the urgent need for coordinated efforts in addressing the proliferation of SALW.

The ambassador underscored the crucial role of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW and its vital instrument in tackling the issues.

He noted that the workshop was significant in advancing the implementation of the convention.

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Musah recognised Nigeria’s progress in SALW control, the role of civil society organisations and the importance of aligning with global disarmament initiatives.

“Government officials must muster the political will to uphold reintegration promises made,’’ he stated.

Similarly, Nigeria’s permanent representative to ECOWAS, Musa Nuhu recognised the ECOWAS Convention on SALW as a crucial document for fostering peace, stability and development.

Nuhu, who was represented by Abdullahi Isah, noted that the workshop would serve as a valuable platform to enhance the understanding of the convention and identify critical areas where improvements are required.

“I urge you all to formulate strong strategies, foster coordinated efforts, and enhance regional cooperation to tackle the threats posed by SALW,’’ Nuhu stated.

Participants at the workshop identified, inadequate enforcement of existing laws, ethnic stockpiling, porous borders and separatist movements as factors responsible for SALW proliferation.

They further listed ecological factors, politically motivated influences and cultism as driving forces behind illegal acquisition of arms.

In addressing the challenge, they recommended strengthening of security agencies and establishment of joint task forces to combat the menace.

They also recommended regulation of artisanal arms production in controlling the challenge.