GHANA HOSTS ECOWAS REGIONAL TRAINING FOR SECURITY FORCES IN MEMBER STATES ON EXEMPTION PROCEDURES FOR SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS
A 3-day ECOWAS Regional Training for focal persons from Member States on the Exemption procedure for Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)
was hosted by Ghana this year in Accra from 28th-30th September, 2021.
Speaking on behalf of Ghana, The Executive Secretary of the Small Arms Commission, Mr. Jones Apperh, welcomed all the participants and revealed that the training sought to equip Member States with the knowledge and the opportunity to harmonize and thus facilitate the exemption procedure among the fifteen (15) West African States.
He indicated that poor stockpile management, and porous regimes and structures regarding the safe transfer and movement of SALW internally within nations
and transnationally across countries contributes to the alarming rate at which weapons bearing the marking of other West African States are either being recycled or smuggled into other countries within the West African Sub-Region.
All these he noted raises serious public and national security concerns within the sub-region.
According to the recent report by the Small Arms Survey, over 875million Small Arms are in circulation globally, with West Africa holding excess of 8million of these small arms with more than 59% in civilian hands.
A major reason he stated was that the exemption regime should be managed well to avoid the challenges that have existed some decades ago which led to several civil wars and armed violence within the Sub-region.
As part of Ghana’s effort to curb proliferations in the Region, Mr. Applerh noted that the Small Arms Commission recently held a week-long training for its staff in partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG) on Weapons Marking basically to enhance
their capacity. The Commission is scheduled to complete the marking of the weapons of the security services and then extend it to civilian weapons in the near future. The training was attended by two representatives from each Member State.