By Olimatou Coker
The Ecowas Commission recently closed a two-day training program for its focal persons in The Gambia.
It was designed to update participants on the current status of management of the exemption procedure by member states and recommend options for an effective and efficient control of transfer of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the country.
The Ecowas Convention on SALW was first signed in June 2006, coming into force as a legally binding instrument in September 2009.
Speaking at the training held at a local hotel, Ahoba Piex Joseph Aipri, representative of the Ecowas Commission, said the West African body takes the issue of peace and security seriously.
“Our effort at ensuring an effective arms transfer regime, led to the adoption of a legally binding instrument in the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.”
He said these emerging implementation challenges informed the decision of the Commission to start capacity building of national partners for better understanding of the works of the convention.
Lamin A Camara, deputy permanent sectary, Ministry of Interior, told the gathering that the government of The Gambia is “cognizant of the threats” to national and sub regional security, posed by the proliferation of SALW.
“Therefore,” he told them, “national commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which is under the purview of the ministry of Interior view this training as another noteworthy step in our determination towards building a secure society as well as a platform to address collectively, the illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons.”
He reiterated his government’s crusade in the fight against illicit circulation of SALW.