The meeting was organized in Freetown, wherein the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Paolo Conteh applauded ECOWAS and other stakeholders for their relentless efforts in tackling the issue of small arms and light weapons in the region and the enhancement of institutional capacities of all stakeholders on small arms. He commended the organizers for the engagement while describing it as a means of tackling the problem.
“As a country, we have experienced the negative effect of manufacturing and proliferation of small arms on our socio- economic development. That experience is a situation we now abhor and doing everything possible to forestall a recurrence in our country in particular and the ECOWAS region generally.” Conteh added.
He reiterated the existence of National Commissions on Small Arm in ECOWAS states, was not enough to tackle small arms proliferation in the region, adding that the establishment of the ECOWAS-EU regional project on small arms to implement the ECOWAS convention, considered welcoming news to Sierra Leoneans.
EU representative, N’fa Kargbo mentioned that the European Union committed to ensure that the circulation of illicit small arms in the Sub-region drastically curtailed, as he further encouraged the engagement of civil society organizations in areas that are difficult to reach, a situation he described as the feet on ground after the expiration of the aforementioned project.
N’fa Kargbo further called for a strong and robust partnership with government, security agencies and the EU would instill adequate control and facilitate the collection of weapons.