Nigeria is committed to strengthening its borders against the influx of illicit weapons into the country, particularly, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs).
Mr Kingsley Weinoh, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, stated this while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the ‘Thematic Debate of the UN Committee on Conventional Weapons’ in New York.
The Nigerian envoy regretted that over the years, people had died needlessly from conventional arms and ammunition produced primarily for the defence and security needs of nation States and other lawful uses.
“In addressing these issues, Nigeria has redoubled efforts at strengthening its national borders as well as its security cooperation across the West African sub-region.
“Our commitment is further demonstrated by the signing and ratification of relevant international, regional and sub-regional instruments and legal regimes such as the Arms Trade Treaty.
“The other is the UN Programme Action to Combat, Prevent and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Llight Weapons in all its aspects, among others,” he said.
He urged the arms producing and exporting countries, not yet parties to the Treaty, to ensure timely accession.
“A large portion of the global population, including many in my country, has painfully experienced the consequences of illicit small arms and light weapons in the hands of criminal gangs, terrorists and armed militants.
“These weapons continue to undermine otherwise peaceful societies, cause internal displacement, and are responsible for hundreds of deaths each day,” he regretted.
According to him, to demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment, the country has taken several steps to stem the inflows of weapons through its borders.
“The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which was set up by the Federal Government in 2003, has been involved in activities geared towards stemming the tide of the proliferation of SALWs.
“It has carried out an initial baseline assessment of SALWs situation in Nigeria, including a comprehensive national survey on small arms and light weapons marking programme.
“It has also established database on SALWs and developing a new firearms law in the country, among others,” Weinoh said.
He reiterated the need for a robust and effective implementation of numerous instruments already in place, as tools for regulating global transfer of conventional weapons.
He commended the renewed efforts of all nation States and welcomed last year’s convention of the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all aspects.
According to him, the consensus adoption of the outcome document is commendable, in view of its efforts to address numerous issues, including by highlighting the significance of the International Tracing Instrument and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We look forward to working with other delegations to translate the vision of international peace and security into a reality for our future and those of our children,” Weinoh concluded.