News from Africa

ECOWAS Calls On Member States To Ratify Regional Convention Against Proliferation Of Small Arms

Proliferation of small arms and light weapons

Témoignages.re / 16 September 2012

ECOWAS Member States yet to ratify the 2006 Regional Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons have been urged to do so as a demonstration of their collective determination to rid the region of the primary tools of violence and instability.

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons is believed to be facilitating the ignition and/or fuelling of perennial conflicts in the region.

Addressing the 9th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers in charge of security in the region, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, said the ratification of the Convention had become imperative as “we move towards the elaboration of a Regional Concept and Plan of Action for the Security Sector Governance component of the 2008 ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework, which focuses on human security.”

She enumerated the initiatives by ECOWAS and Member States aimed at streamlining policies and operations to enhance coordination, efficiency and effectiveness of security services in the region.

According to the Commissioner, the significance of this meeting “is to give a stamp of political legitimacy to the commitments and numerous recommendations” made by the 13th Annual General Assembly West Africa Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and the 8th Meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Security Services (CCSS), which preceded the Ministers’ Forum.

Commissioner Suleiman stressed the need to strengthen “political commitment at the national level and regional initiatives, to combat trans-border crime in order to open up our economies for sustained growth and development.”

To achieve this objective, she said “it is necessary to consider the modernization and standardization of immigration formalities, the free flow of traffic in the region, on our sea, roads and air borders, as well as the status of implementation of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, the Right to Residence and Establishment without compromising on security.”

Opening the ministerial forum, Cote d’Ivoire’s Interior Minister, Honourable Hamed Bakayoko, thanked ECOWAS, its Member States and the INTERPOL for their strong support to the various platforms put in place for the deepening of cooperation and harmonization of strategies among the police and other security services for the effective combat and control of organized crimes in the region, including, terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy and money laundering.

In his address of welcome, Cote d’Ivoire’s Inspector-General of Police and current Chair of WAPCCO/CCSS, Gen. Bredou M’Bia, expressed the hope that the four-day gathering of regional security chiefs in Abidjan would enrich the roadmap for the prevention and control of organized crimes in the region.

The Regional Security Division of the ECOWAS Commission, which serves as the WAPCCO Permanent Secretariat organizes and coordinates the different levels of annual security meetings with a view to bringing together the relevant stakeholders to report, discuss, analyze, strategize and make recommendations in line with international best practices on crime trends and Police collaboration in the region.

ABUJA, Nigeria, September 16, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/

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