LIBERIA HOSTS COORDINATING MEETING OF NATIONAL COMMISSIONS ON SMALL ARMS IN ECOWAS REGION


The President of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah has told Small Arms Specialist attending this year NATCOM Meeting in Liberia that the Country has experienced the ravages of war for nearly two decades fueled mainly by the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons (SALW).

President Weah said, the meeting comes at a more opportune time considering the strides the government and the people of Liberia have made over the years as well as the challenges the country has endure in sustaining the hard-won peace and stability even beyond the exit of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia.

The President’s message was contained in a speech delivered on his behalf by his National Security Advisor, Jefferson S. Karmoh at the first organized NATCOM Meeting held in Monrovia.

The Liberian Leader hailed the tremendous progress made at the level of ECOWAS in the fight against illicit SALW.

The President stressed that the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons continues to plague the sub-region, subject the populations to untold sufferings, gross human rights abuses and other dehumanizing conditions that undermine development efforts as well.

The President also emphasized the emergence of what is seen as new threats to regional peace and security, in the form of terrorism, piracy and drugs, which according to him has undermined the capacity of the sub-region to respond adequately to the problem of small arms and light weapons proliferation. 

 

The fight against the menace of illicit small arms and light weapons according to the President, requires a concerted approach as in the case of the ECOWAS endeavors over the years which witnessed in 1998 the declaration of the Moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of arms and ammunition by the Authority of Heads of State and Government; and followed later in 2006 by the adoption of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW.

 

The Head of the Small Arms Division of ECOWAS, Amb. Ahoba Joseph expressed delight on the level of achievements and the efforts ECOWAS Countries are making in the fight against Small Arms and Light Weapons in the region.

Amb. Joseph lauded the efforts of the Small Arms Chairman in Liberia and his team for the excellent coordination which has led to the successful hosting of the NATCOM Meeting in Liberia.

The Chief of Small Arms Division said, the decade of efforts in controlling small arms has yielded positive results. This according to him is evident of ECOWAS Countries establishment of National Commission on Small Arms and capacity building programs as well as quick impact projects at the national level.

Members of the Diplomatic Corps attending the meeting expressed optimism about the fight against small arms and light weapons in the region, emphasizing   

that the fight against small arms has taking an enthusiastic approach since the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms came into force.

An expression of hope to combat arms trafficking and illicit proliferation began a major concern of the various Ambassadors. The Ambassadors expressed strong support in fighting against illicit flow of arm in the region.

 

For his part, the Chairman of the Small Arms Commission of Liberia, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II commended ECOWAS Member States for selecting Liberia as a host country.

In his welcomed remarks to delegates, Chairman Grigsby said, it is imperative that attention be paid to armed conflict and the fragility that triggers, including the instruments such as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons that had destabilizing effects on the Social, economic and political life of people in ECOWAS Region.

 

The Small Arms Boss indicated that besides the destabilizing implication of uncontrolled small arms and light weapons, the production and sale of   small arms have negative effect on development.

The Chairman noted that conflicts and instabilities in various forms around the world are predicated upon the sale of illicit weapons across borders, stressing, the ever-increasing availability of small arms and light weapons have been a major contributing factor to the increase in conflicts and instabilities, as well as hindering the rebuilding and development efforts in Liberia, the Mano River basin and by extension, the sub region. Small arms and light weapons initiatives, according to LiNCSA Boss is one of the surest ways to reduce arms proliferation in the sub-region.  

This year meeting which is under the theme, “A Decade of Disarmament and Non Proliferation in West Africa- Progress Update and Future Perspectives”, is geared toward reviewing conclusion and recommendations of the Niamey technical review meeting of the 10th anniversary of ECOWAS Convention on small arms and light weapon, and to put in motion priorities from 2020-2030 and ensure the networking of partnership and resource mobilization by ECOWAS Member States and Development Partners.