The Forum for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) has launched a report on the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, six years after it came into force in 2009.
The report, titled: “Tracking Compliance of ECOWAS States to the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons and their Related Materials: A survey of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo,” has been launched in Accra, at the sub-regional meeting of stakeholders.
The three countries are targets of the FOSDA-IBIS funded West African Human Rights and Democratisation Project, under which the project is being implemented.
The Accra meeting was based on the recent upsurge in armed violence crime, illegal economic activities such as mining, terrorism, money laundering, drug trafficking and religious extremism, as well as social unrests and intra-state conflicts in some West African countries.
The study found that the three countries were at various levels of compliance of the Convention and made significant progress with the establishment of National Commissions on Small Arms (NatComs); border enforcement; public education and the culture of peace, and fared fairly in the other areas investigated.
Launching the report, Ms Afi Yakubu, Executive Director, FOSDA, observed that, notwithstanding, the fact that the conflicts which led to the advocacy for the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons had abated significantly in the last decade, the region is experiencing more complicated and sophisticated security challenges.
“Not only do we have to look out for groups and individuals wielding guns, we are also faced with threats from individuals ready to kill using their own bodies as killing machines. No state is immune to this type of combatants,” she warned.
“These security threats go beyond mere laws and regulations. The technology and expertise to implement them, remain a critical necessity, the absence of which undermines the vast resources spent on getting the Convention,” she stressed.
Ms Yakubu said those were the concerns which informed FOSDA’s initiative to track compliance of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
With the assistance of IBIS, the Danish NGO, the study was started by FOSDA, using Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo as case studies in 2013 and completed in 2014.
The study was also to examine the impact of the Convention, almost five years after coming into force.
It was also to identify implementation challenges and give recommendations to influence decision-making and policy formulation.
Mr Abayomi Adeomi, Programme Officer, Small Arms, the ECOWAS Commission, assured that the Commission is committed to eliminating the menace of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the sub-region.
He appealed to member states to collaborate with their bodies in order to halt the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Mr Abayomi lauded FOSDA for coming out with a comprehensive report on the state of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the sub-region.
He said the report would serve as a guide to the Commission in observing the implementation of its Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.