ECOWAS Raises Concern Over Circulation Of Illegal Arms In West Africa
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission on Tuesday, raised concerns over the circulation of illegal small arms and light weapons amounting to 100 million in Africa.
The commission’s President, Jean Claude Brou, in a chat with pressmen in Abuja, said of the 100 million illegal weapons, about 10 million weapons have found their way into West Africa.
Brou, who was represented by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Francis Behanzin, noted that the proliferation of firearms in the region was among the major causes of terrorism and other armed conflicts in West Africa and the Sahel.
The situation, he said, was further aggravated by the vulnerability of countries to climate change, where erratic rains and persistent drought lead to recurring food crises.
“The lack of development opportunities for the young and increasingly growing population is fuelling illicit networks and organized crime,” he added.
He, however, said ECOWAS is resolutely committed to solving all these problems through numerous regional initiatives.
“The ECOWAS Sahel Strategy is structured around three strategic axes to have (i) connection infrastructure, (ii) resilience and food security, (iii) education as well as two cross-cutting issues: peace and security. It is accompanied by an action plan comprising 31 priority projects whose overall cost is estimated at $ 4.75 billion,” he said.