By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) is set to partner with the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) to co-ordinate legislative action on the containment of small arms and light weapon proliferation and terrorism financing.
A statement issued by Kanayo Nwajei, Communication Adviser to the Director-General of NILS, said lawmakers and other key stakeholders would meet on December 7 for a meeting to discuss small arms proliferation and terrorist financing.
It stated that the partnership between both parties is aimed at harmonising laws on the security challenges within the sub-region.
This statement reads in part: “This is coming against the background that terrorism-related violence, illegal proliferation of small Arms and light weapons have continued to assume a most dangerous dimension and a nightmarish proportion across the sub-region.
“This narrative is reinforced by this scenario from Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s, and in recent years, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria, it has been regional violence and conflict and the sad stories of sorrows, tears and blood.
“As the issue of terrorism, insurgency, small arms and conflict in the sub-region take centre-stage during this Parliamentary Conference, it justifies the compelling imperative on the 15-member states to articulate legislative actions to contain illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons and terrorist financing.”
The conference according to NILS seeks to harmonise policies and laws and strengthen regulatory frameworks and legislations to facilitate the reduction of cross boarder crimes and terrorism.
It would have more than 200 participants drawn from the ECOWAS Parliament, Select-members of security related committees of some national parliaments of ECOWAS member states in attendance.
Other participants are the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and members of the diplomatic corps as well as civil society organisations.