ECOWAS Commission Directorate on Peace and Regional Security -Concludes a Five-Day Fact Finding Mission in Liberia

A six-member delegation from the ECOWAS Commission Directorate on Peace and Regional Security and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) has concluded a five-day fact finding mission to finalize arrangements for the training of 25 state security armorers in advanced Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM).

The fact finding team visit to Liberia was in response to an official request from the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms to buttress government’s efforts to build the capacity of relevant State Security officers and strengthen existing arms control measures to minimize proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

During the visit, the delegation met and held separate discussions with senior officials of the Liberian Government including the National Security Advisor, senior officials from the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia, Inspector General of the Liberia National Police and the Mayor of the City of Monrovia.

The head of the delegation, Mr. Koffi Marc Kouadio of the ECOWAS Commission extolled the Government of Liberia for promoting national physical security and stockpile management during an inception meeting with senior management of the Small Arms Commission. Mr. Kouadio explained that the initiative is part of the ECOWAS implementation plan on stockpile management for state armorers in the ECOWAS sub-region.

In response, the Chairman of the Small Arms Commission of Liberia Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II expressed appreciation to ECOWAS Commission and its technical partner BICC for the accepting to organize an in-country PSSM Training of Trainers (TOT) for 25 State Armorers from various security agencies to include: Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Executive Protection Agency, the National Security Agency among others.

The Small Arms Commission Boss outlined major achievements of the Commission in 2021 especially activities under the ECOWAS-EU Organized Crime West Africa Response to Trafficking (OCWAR-T) Project. Chairman Grigsby informed the visiting ECOWAS delegation that the Commission has produced and validated a national PSSM Manual for state security agencies, developed a five-year Strategic Plan for LiNCSA, conducted physical assessment and inspection of armories and storage facilities in seven counties namely: Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Cape Mount and Bomi, organized Specialized Training on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control, Trade, Transfer, Trafficking, and Gender in Arms Control for over 60 Joint Security Officers assigned at Ganta-Guinea and Loguatuo Borders in Nimba County and Toe-Town Border in Grand Gedeh County.

Also, in a meeting with the National Security Advisor. Jefferson S. Kanmoh, Mr. Kouadio revealed that the ECOWAS Commission is involved with training professional arms management experts in the ECOWAS region, emphasizing that the training is in accordance with Article 16 of the 2009 ECOWAS Regional Roadmap on the Physical Security of Stockpile Management.

He explained that the initiative is being funded by ECOWAS in collaboration with the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) with technical support from BICC. Mr. Kouadio noted that the in-country Training of Trainers (TOT) scheduled to take place from 11-15 October, 2021 will provide guidance for state security armorers in handling state owned weapons.

For his part, the National Security Advisor Honorable Jefferson S. Kanmoh applauded the ECOWAS Commission and its technical partner BICC for the initiative, especially at a time where there is serious security concerns in the ECOWAS Region with particular emphasis in the Mano River Union basin.

Mr.  Kanmoh stressed the need for even more collaborative efforts in combating the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the region.

Mr. Kanmoh emphasized that the proper management of state owned stockpile is very important and further asserted that the government takes the proper management of state stockpile seriously because the stabilization of the state depends on the appropriate accountability of state weapons.

The six-member delegation head Mr. Koffi Marc Kouadio and team lead for Technical partner, Mr. David Herfier informed stakeholders that the upcoming training will provide participants (State Armorers) with practical knowledge to improve physical security and stockpile management in keeping with the ECOWAS road map to promote the effective implementation of Article 16 of the ECOWAS Convention. The delegation emphasized that the PSSM in-country training will improve the knowledge and skills of Liberian armorers and stockpile managers as well as increase the capacity of the country to prevent the illicit proliferation, diversion and misuse of small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and related materials.

The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms is the national institution responsible for monitoring of armories and storage facilities of state security agencies within the Republic of Liberia.

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