By Sanna Camara
The head of the ECOWAS Bureau in The Gambia has called attention to the use of small arms and light weapons, which he said has been growing significantly in the drug trade and terrorism.
Mr. Daba Moussa described this phenomenon as “dangerous” and that it needs urgent attention.
Addressing participants at a three-day capacity building workshop for Gambian journalists on the ECOWAS conventions on small arms and light weapons, Mr. Moussa revealed that the sub regional bloc has decided to reactivate all efforts to implementing the said convention.
“The small arms division of the ECOWAS Commission considers the media as strategic partners for the purpose of public sensitization and education as part of its activity plans,” he told the gathering.
The workshop brings together over two dozen participants, half of whom are journalists from both public and private media, as well as government technocrats from defense, interior and information ministries; representatives of security agencies, among others.
Weapons fuel lot of conflicts
“The possession of small arms and light weapons fuels lot of conflicts in the sub-region presently and these conflicts are predominantly covered by journalists….
“Reporting these conflicts in tandem with the relevant ECOAWS Convention and Protocols can go a long way in educating the masses and possibly motivate concerned parties to a fruitful resolution for peace,” explained the ECOWAs diplomat.
Understanding and knowledge of the convention
He said in a much as fostering economic cooperation among the member states, ECOWAS has proven its capacity to undertake successful conflict prevention, peace keeping and conflict resolution.
“It is therefore imperative to train journalists in the member states on ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons so as to enhance their understanding and knowledge of the convention and indeed add value to their reporting on issues relating to the convention and other matters.