The Annual Coordination Meeting of the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) National Commission on Small Arms opened today Wednesday 17th November, 2021 in Accra to discuss and review ECOWAS Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of the Minister for the Interior, the Chief Director for the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs. Addelaide Anno-Kumi, said peace, security and development remain the three most important priorities of the ECOWAS Region and must ensure that necessary measures are put in place to sustain that.

She noted that the security landscape within the Region has changed significantly from hate speeches, political vigilantism to new forms of security threats characterised by terrorism, insurgency, maritime insecurity, cybercrimes, rising levels of violent extremism and transnational organized crimes.

Mrs. Anno-Kumi therefore, call for proper measures, control and regulation of the cross-border activities to ensure peace and stability and also promote political and socio-economic activities to integrate the West African economy.

According to her, the movement of persons and goods in the Region is inevitable and therefore, there is a need to strengthen the regulatory and control measures to prevent weapons from going into the hands of organized criminal networks, insurgents and Non-State Actors to inflict pain on the civilian population and endangering peace and security.

She said Ghana remains steadfast in her commitment to the fight against Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation and abuse and that the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is cardinal for the ECOWAS Chairman, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Heads of States and Governments in West Africa.

‘Stopping the illegal circulation and proliferation of small arms and light weapons is important to prevent conflicts, enhance internal security, prevent violent crimes and promote peace and sustainable development and economic prosperity for our people,’ she added.

The Chief Director noted that ECOWAS States face specific challenges which require enhanced collaboration of members and the effective use of the limited resources and human capacity available. She therefore, called for the need to introduce modern technological devices in the fight against the constantly involving crimes committed by the use of small and light weapons.