The Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre in Kaduna has trained some members of the armed forces from 15 countries in West Africa on effective management of armouries in the sub-region.
The Commandant of the centre, Brig.-Gen Umar Musa made the disclosure at the graduation of the course participants on Friday in Jaji, Kaduna State,
The training was a collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), German Government and Multi-National Small Arms and Ammunition Group, funded by Bonn International Centre for Conversion.
The one-week training was on Physical Security and Stockpile Management for Small Arms and Light Weapons and Conventional Ammunitions.
Musa said the course was aimed at strengthening the capacity of armoury managers and storekeepers in the ECOWAS sub-region to effectively manage armouries and maintain good record keeping on small arms and light weapons, in accordance with internationally acceptable best practices.
He listed the 15 countries to include Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Republic of Benin, Togo and Cape Verde.
Others were Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau and Ghana.
He said the training was to ensure that governments’ legitimately procured arms and ammunition do not fall into wrong hands as to constitute a security risk to the countries in the sub-region.
He noted that the lack of effective and efficient control and management of small arms and light weapons has a direct link with the incessant crises witnessed in Africa today.
“Studies revealed that the proliferation of arms in the West African sub-region became more prevalent since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.
“Therefore this training could not have come at a better time than now when Africa is confronted with series of terrorist activities by groups such as Al-Qaida, Al Shabab, ISIL Magreb, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province among others.
“I want to reassure and confirm to our sub-regional stakeholders in the control and management of SALW in the region that this centre in collaboration with the MSAG have produced another set of proficient and seasoned armoury managers in the West African sub-region,” Musa said.
Earlier, the representative of ECOWAS, Mr Kofi Marc, said the training is dedicated to assisting member states in strengthening the physical security and safety of armouries.
Marc urges those who participated in the training to make use of their newly gained knowledge in the effective discharge of their responsibilities.