The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through the Organised Crime West African Response to Trafficking (OCWAR-T), has revealed that insecurity in the region can be curbed through unity of purpose by member states.
The commission disclosed this during the Joint Planning Retreat On Enhancing Small Arms Control in Nigeria which took place in Calabar on Monday.
Speaking on the topic, “Strengthening Small Arms Control in Nigeria”, Nanan Ahoba, Chief of Small Arms in OCWAR-T, said that if the guidelines of the project were strictly followed, crimes troubling the region would be a thing of the past.
He said that with checking of arms proliferation, vices like kidnapping, drug abuse and human trafficking among other within the region would be reduced.
In a communique issued at the end of the retreat, the commission stressed that the programme was held to update participants’ knowledge on review of firearms act.
The communique was signed by the Chief of Division, Small Arms, Nanan Joseph Ahoba, OCWAR-T project.
It said that the programme was also to facilitate transformation of the newly created National Centre on Small Arms into a full-fledged National Commission on Small Arms, as well as the passage of a Nigerian firearms bill.
“Small arms and light weapons threat poses setbacks to the collective peace, stability and security in the ECOWAS space resulting in widespread destruction of lives and properties.
“More so, it is apparent in the frontline states of Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Nigeria, where the menace of terrorism, kidnapping and banditry continue to thrive.“One of the potent regional responses to these crises is the adoption of ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“Nigeria has demonstrated high level of political will but it is, however, inhibited by consistent bureaucratic bottlenecks on the side of those saddled with the tasks of implementing the policies,” the communique read.