Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has called on national parliaments of ECOWAS members States to that the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, alongside Ammunition and other Materials, are not only ratified but domesticated.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a parliamentary conference on “Legislative actions for Containment of Small Arms Proliferation and Terrorist Financing” jointly organized by the ECOWAS Parliament, the National Institute for Legislative Studies and the African Capacity Building Foundation in Abuja, on Thursday, December 7, 2017, the Speaker tasked legislators to enact laws that would make possession of Small Arms difficult.
He stated that the efforts made towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are been hampered due to the high level insecurity in the West African sub-region, noting that the prevalence of both intra and inter-communal conflicts, armed insurrections, armed rebel activities and terrorism have led to the circulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons. He further informed that the Authorities of Heads of Government of the ECOWAS had on 31 October, 1998 adopted a Declaration on a Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacturing of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa. However, he noted that eleven years after the adoption of the Convention in 2006, the issue of containment of Small Arms proliferation remains a challenge in the region.
Rt. Hon. Dogara further decried the thriving of trade mercenaries in the West Africa sub-region, aiding the flow of Small Arms and Light weapons, especially along the Sahel axis. He seriously cautioned against all forms of transnational crimes, saying, it has become a global business. He informed that revenues from transnational crimes form a major source of financing violence, corruption, slave trade and human trafficking, illicit mining, oil bunkering, insurgency and other abuses.
He ended his remarks by calling on the various stakeholders to work with the National Assembly to ensure that the people of West Africa live in a peaceful and safe environment.