By Emma Una
CALABAR- PROLIFERATION of small arms remains a major challenge in efforts to stem crime and insurgency in the West African sub region which is hampering economic development of the region.

Mrs Salamatu Hussein Suleiman, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security ECOWAS Commission stated his in Calabar on Wednesday during the annual meeting of National Commission on Small Arms of the Economic Community of West African States.

Mr Suleiman said porous borders across the sub region allows for easy accessibility of dangerous military-style weapons to non members and non members states across the region. “The proliferation of small arms in our countries still remains a challenge in the control of criminal activities and insurgency as demonstrated in the Sahel and Northern Nigeria”.

She said this proliferation is exacerbated by the inefficiency of the security forces in members states to enforce the control and stem the tide of the easy supply of illicit weapon s. “The deficiency in the enforcement capacity of security agencies is sa situation being exploited by criminals tpo kill, maim and damage properties in our communities” she asserted.

Mrs Suleiman said the meeting will review the status of implementation of the ECOWAS Convention at the national level, review activities of the five year priority plan of the convention and propose new thematic priorities form the next five years on how to stem the tide of the small arms .

Also speaking, the Chairman, Nigerian Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe said the proliferation of small weapons in West Africa is a hydra headed monster which has impeded economic development.

He said the Nigerian government has however demonstrated commitment to fight and dismantle the template on which the suppliers and users of these weapons draw support from.

“Nigeria has demonstrated commitment to dismantling the template on which these criminals operate through the signing and ratifying the relevant international regional and sub-regional instruments and legal regimes on the subject of small and light weapons control”.

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