Against the backdrop of fragile security, local manufacturing and the circulation of illegal guns, grenades and rocket launchers that have ripped communities apart while fuelling terrorism, in Nigeria. These weapons, described as small arms and light weapons (SALWs) are in dense possession of unauthorized non-state actors. For this reason the government of Nigeria has initiated several interventions in addressing the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons; in April 2013, The Federal Government set up the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, PRESCOM. The Nigeria Firearms Act of 1959 is also before the national assembly for review. The country has also committed to several regional and international treaties including the implementation of the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their ammunition and other related materials amongst several others. However, the implementation of these frameworks remains a challenge; for instance, Nigeria as well as Gambia remains the only member states without a functional National Commission on Small Arms as stipulated under the article 24 of ECOWAS Convention on SALW. It is within this purview that the Centre for Democracy and Development is conveying a stakeholder’s forum to propose series of actionable efforts to address various aspects of preventing and solving the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
This meeting is intended to discuss overall issues of arms proliferations; arms stockpile management, arms productions, transfer and trade. It would also examine among other things, the porosity of the Nigeria land borders, water ways and seaports and airports. Although this conversation will be moderated, it would apply Chatham House rules. Unlike other meetings, CDD will lay down the problem and allow participants in a round table to speak, analyze and make practicable recommendations which will form part of the communiqué that will be issued at the end of the day. The early part of the conversation will discuss the state of affairs with SALW, policy issues, government, security institutions and non-state actors while the second session will be used to make actionable recommendations.
The dialogue is to have audience from United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons – PRESCOM, ECOWAS, Nigerian Immigration Services, Nigerian Customs Services, Police, West African Action Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons (WAANSA), Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Air force, Nigeria Governors Forum, NSCDC, Foreign Affairs Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC).