EU EARMARKS €5.56 MILLION TO FIGHT INSURGENCY
European Union (EU) has dedicated €5.56 million towards the efforts at mopping up of small arm in circulation in Nigeria and other West African states,
EU argued that the havoc caused by the terrorist uprising in the Northeast and bordering areas of neighbouring countries and armed violence in Mali and Guinea are all manifestations of the tragedy that resulted from the readily availability of arms in the region.
According to the Representative of the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Alan Munday, the scourge of small arms and light weapons in the region is a threat to be taken seriously.
Munday who is the acting Head of Cooperation EU Nigeria/EOWAS who spoke at an induction workshop on Small Arm project at the ECOWAS Secretariat, Abuja , stressed that proliferation of small arms affected development and opportunities.
.The project which is funded by the EU and implemented by United Nation Development Programme ( UNDP) aimed at piloting a “Weapons collection programme” covering 6 countries in the sub-region.
The countries include Northern Niger, Mali, the Mano River Union, West Coast of Cote d’ voire, Guinea , East of Liberia, North-East of Sierra Leone.
The overall objective of the project is aimed towards ending proliferation and use of small arms in the sub-region.
It is believed that proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the West African region has continued to impact negatively on the potential of the region to facilitate broader human development as they become effective instruments fuelling violent conflicts and disrupting peace.
Hence, the project is geared towards the consolidation of good governance and regional stability in the ECOWAS region.
The small arm project, Munday further revealed is an integral part of EU’s larger support to peace and security in West Africa which will cost EU the sum of €27million.
He said,”the project ECOWAS-European Union Small Arm project,with a total European contribution of 5.56 million Euro, the European Union, ECOWAS and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) take a joint and concrete step to address this menace to regional peace, security and development.
“The project is in fact an integral part of the EU’s larger support to peace and security in West Africa. It is a component of the larger programme “European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional, peace, security and stability mandate,” with a total EU contribution of 27 million Euro is European Union’s single largest programme contribution to peace and security in West Africa to date.”
The success of the project, he however warned requires the sustained commitment from ECOWAS Commission,Mitsubishi members and national authorities and the small arms commission.
Munday also stressed that “the problem of increased proliferation of illicit small arms is urgent.
Representative of ECOWAS Dr. Agnekethom Cyrianque, said ECOWAS was prepared to provide the needed political support to the project; stressing that the Commission was determined to see the project through.
Dr Cyrianque who represented the President of the Commission further assured the development partners that ECOWAS has committed it’s self to the project which has been necessitated by insurgency within the region.
He also stressed that if this is not done now the region might be loosing ground to insurgency
“We want to provide political support and ownership for the project. The commission is committed to it to ensure the success of the project.”He added
UNDP country Director, PA Lamin Beyai on his part assured the gathering that the agency would use the $100,000 resources to support Nigeria’s efforts to commence preparations towards it’s small arms and light weapons programme particularly the post-insurgency period.