United Nation agencies and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday began a two-day meeting towards adopting a strategic plan for addressing illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons.
According to the bodies, the meeting is hinged on concern raised by the international community about the proliferation of illicit small arms as a serious impediment to the socio-economic development of conflict-ridden countries in Africa.
Earlier, the UN bodies have blamed extreme violence and other forms of crimes in some African nations, including Nigeria, on proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Sahel region.
At the presentation of the survey on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), the UN bodies noted that the transnational dimension of proliferation of arms and accompanying crimes were made easy by porous borders of countries around the Sahel region.
Declaring the symposium open, Deputy Country Director, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Dr. Jiaming Miao, stated that conflict situation in the affected nations in Africa has jeopardised development efforts of the counties concerned.
He said:It is no secret that many African countries are suffering from the negative impacts linked to the proliferation of SALW, which leads to a series of conflicts resulting in the looting of arms and ammunition stocks, violation of human rights, displacement of population and instability of the sub-region.