FG asks Lake Chad nations to curb spread of small arms
The Federal Government has asked nations in Lake Chad Basin Region to develop a lasting network and synergy, to halt the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the region.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, made the appeal at a Two-Day multilateral conference with stakeholders of the Lake Chad Basin Region on Thursday in Abuja.
The seminar with the topic “Cubing Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Lake Chad Basin Region” was organised by National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Office of the National Security Adviser.
Media claims that officials of the three other nations in the Lake Chad Basin Region including Cameroon, Niger and Chad attended the summit.
Mustapha said Nigeria along with other Lake Chad Basin countries, should take advantage of the big summit to address the scourge of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the area.
“The proliferation of small arms in the lake Chad Basin is a major security concern that has far-reaching consequences for the region.
“It has contributed to the escalation of conflict and violence and has impeded the economic and social development of the countries in the region.
“Small arms are slowly becoming weapons of mass destruction. Their broad availability has caused significant harm to communities and people, especially women and children.
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“It is, therefore, imperative that we work together to curb the proliferation of small arms in the Lake Chad Basin region.
“If we must put an end to the senseless and mindless violence of Boko Haram and other violence mongers that are widespread in the region,” he stated.
He highlighted the need to work together to implement the current international and regional agreements, on small weapons control and to support the establishment and implementation of new ones.
“We also need to engage in dialogue and cooperation to increase public awareness and to mobilise resources for small arms control initiatives,” he added.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mongonu, raised alarm on the catastrophic impact of the unlawful circulation of small guns and light weapons.
He noted that the availability of these weapons promotes disputes, exacerbates violence, and threatens peace and security in our area.
“We must take decisive action to address this menace and protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens.
“This meeting allows us to collaborate and share experiences and strategize towards curbing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.”
He added that Nigeria was completely committed to playing its share in the efforts to curb Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation in the Region.
Mongonu claimed that Nigeria has made efforts to strengthen its national gun control regime, including the establishment of a National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the signature of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“ However, we recognise that this is not a problem that any one country can solve alone.
“We must work together as a region to address the root causes of this problem including poverty, underdevelopment and poor governance.
“We must also strengthen our border control measures to prevent the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons across our borders.
“Let us use this opportunity to build strong partnerships and develop practical solutions that will make a real difference in the lives of our citizens,” he urged.
The National Coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons retired Maj.-Gen Abba Mohammed, condemned the consequences of the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the area.
According to him, the pervasive instability in the region has led to the loss of countless lives, relocation of people and delayed the socio-economic development of the region.
“It behoves us to take drastic measures to find lasting solutions that will help to reduce and eradicate the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“It is therefore imperative that we come together as stakeholders from different sectors and nations to discuss this pressing issue and devise sustainable and pragmatic solutions to address it,”.
Mohammed said the gathering gives an amazing potential for stakeholders to rub heads, share experiences, and adopt best worldwide practices and noble ideas to face the accompanying threat generated by the spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“It also provides a forum for us to build new partnerships and strengthen already existing collaborations towards achieving our common goal.
“ I will not fail to reiterate that this feat of eradicating illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in our society will be a protracted one, and would be an effort in futility without international collaboration,” he stated.