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Influx of small arms, light weapons is source of worry to Africa – Envoy

The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Bande, has said that the illicit influx of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) has become a source of worry to Africa.Nigeria’s foreign affairs office in Abuja said on Tuesday that Bande stated this while presenting the statement on behalf of the African Group at the UN headquarters in New York.

Small arms’ refer to firearms designed for individual use, which include: handguns, rifles, carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light machine guns.

“The Group remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, and their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world, especially in light of their wide range of humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, particularly on the continent of Africa.

“The Group, therefore, attaches great importance to the central role of the UN PoA and ITI – International Tracing Instrument – as crucial multilateral instruments dedicated to fighting the illicit flow of SALWs and tackling their multifaceted effects, which pose a threat to international peace and security,” Bande said.

The Nigerian envoy called for the full implementation of ITI to enable States identify and trace in a timely and reliable manner, the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons.

“Africa continues to be at the forefront of the regions that suffer the most from the effects of illicit trade and transfer of small arms and light weapons, mainly produced outside the continent, yet acquired and used by unauthorised recipients and illegal armed groups within Africa,” he said.

He said that the Conference should call on all States to ensure that the supply of small arms and light weapons were limited only to Governments, or to entities duly authorised by the Governments of recipient States.

Bande stressed the need to establish and maintain controls over private ownership of small arms, adding that the Conference should implement legal restrictions and prohibitions preventing the illicit trade in SALWs.

“Therefore, the Group calls for increased support of the UN and relevant international bodies to the several initiatives of the African Union, including Silencing the Guns by 2020,” Bande said.

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