As part of the reduction of insecurity and the fight against illicit arms trafficking, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has brought together during a workshop, independent subject matter experts on issues of arms control, especially setting standards for civilian possession from 4 to 6 April 2023, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The objectives of this workshop were to improve the control of weapons held by civilians and to present a guide on the licensing of weapons for civilians in ECOWAS Member States.
This workshop was attended by civil society organizations working in the fight against small arms and light weapons (SALW), representatives of the National Commission on SALW (Nat-Com SALW), and staff members of the ECOWAS Commission.
A total of three speeches were delivered during the opening ceremony.
Representing GIZ, Mrs. Phidelia Amey, Head of Component for the OCWAR-T project, congratulated ECOWAS for its commitment to the fight against SALW and then reaffirmed the availability of her organization to support ECOWAS in its actions.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Director of UNREC, Dr. Jiaming Miao, commended the efforts of ECOWAS to address the situation of arms trafficking, which is devastating many lives in its member states, stressing that the Collaboration must be strengthened between all stakeholders to ensure a wide range of results.
Mr. Joseph Ahoba, Head of the Small Arms Division, representing Ambassador Abdel-Fatau MUSAH (PhD) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security of the ECOWAS Commission, welcomed Participants to the technical experts meeting on Civilian Possession of Arms and Licensing in Abuja and thanked FABA Consulting firm, the EU, and the German Government for their support. Before declaring the meeting opened, he further noted that the proliferation of SALW in the hands of civilians increases the risk of violence. However, regulating their possession can limit the lethality associated with these arms and foster human security.
This three-day Workshop ended successfully. Participants commended ECOWAS for implementing this platform and urged all stakeholders to support the new regulatory regime, thereby reducing access to arms by non-state actors.