The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday said it remained committed to assisting member states in preventing further diversions, theft and leakages of small arms.
A representative of the commission, Mr Ahoba Joseph made the commitment during the inauguration of multi national small arms and ammunition group course at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji Military Cantonment, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the physical security and stockpile management competence seminar is a collaboration between ECOWAS and German government through the multinational small arms and ammunitions group.
Joseph said that in the next five years, the intervention planned by ECOWAS will deliver to the region a pool of instructors and senior instructors.
“The commission stands ready to accompany its members states in strengthening the physical security and safety of amories of their security forces, so that issues of leakages, diversion or theft are abated.”
According to him, the ECOWAS will continue to demonstrate strong commitment towards addressing threats to peace, security and stability in the region.
“In this regard, our legal frameworks are being promoted thereby providing member states with responses in dealing with current as well as emerging security challenges.”
He explained that the peace and security architecture of ECOWAS is anchored on five pillars.
These he explained were the protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Resolution, Management, Peacekeeping and security; the supplementary protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, and the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In his remarks, Commandant of the peacekeeping centre, Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Tarfa expressed willingness of the centre to offer assistance necessary for collaboration between ECOWAS and German government in physical security and stockpile management competence.
Tarfa explained that the course could not have come at a better time than now when the region is confronted with proliferation of small arms, which made it necessary to build capacity required in dealing with the prevailing security challenges.
He noted that the security challenges were being exacerbated by smuggling of illegal arms and ammunitions into and across the region.
The Commandant urged the participants to apply professionalism in the course of the training.
Also speaking, lead facilitator, small arms and ammunitions group, Lt. Col Jens Kermes, said the program is expected to among other things, strengthen international cooperation and facilitate useful exchange of information as well as promote regional ownership.
NAN report that the participants were drawn from ECOWAS member nations.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed