The West African Network of Journalists for Security and Development (WANJSD) on Friday commended Ghana for ratifying the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

A statement signed by Mr. Francis Ameyibor, WANJSD Deputy General Secretary noted that Ghana’s ratification confirmed her position as one of the power blocs in the sub-region.

Other member states of ECOWAS that have ratified the Convention include Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone and Benin.

The Convention came into force last November with the deposit of the ninth instrument of ratification.

It provides for a ban of arms transfer by member states with possibility of exemption for the legitimate defence and security needs, law enforcement and
participation in peace support operations.

The Convention, which also provides for the prohibition, without exception, arms transfer to non-state actors without the approval of the importing country, was adopted by the Authority of Heads of State
and Government on June 14, 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Mr. Ameyibor noted that Ghana’s ratification had sent a strong signal to the rest of the world of her commitment towards the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the sub-region.

He however called on government to institute the necessary legal and operation mechanism for the implementation of the Convention especially as Ghana joined the community of oil producing countries.

Mr. Ameyibor who is also Chief Reporter of Ghana News Agency in Accra said in view of its benefits to the sub-region, it was important that the remaining five member-states quicken action on ratifying it.

He said attention would now be focused on the other five member states to speed up action on ratifying the convention to ensure that proliferation of SALW was curtailed.

The ratification demonstrates the government’s commitment to the ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Peace-keeping and Security signed in Lome on December 10,

Mr. Ameyibor reminded governments in the sub-region of Article 58 of the revised ECOWAS Treaty relating to Regional Security, which stipulated that member states to undertake to work to safeguard and consolidate relations conducive to
the maintenance of peace, stability and security within the region.

The Network also tasked governments to establish and strengthen appropriate mechanisms for the timely prevention and resolution of conflicts as well as Article 77 of the Treaty relating to sanctions applicable in cases where a member state fails to fulfil its
obligations to the Community.

Mr. Ameyibor also tasked civil society organisations within these countries not to be comfortable with the ratification but hold their governments accountable for the implementation of the tenets of the Convention to control the illegal proliferation of small arms and
light weapons.

Source: GNA