ECOWAS Donates Security Equipment to Small Arms Commission -To Enhance Liberia’s Security Sector Reform Initiatives

One of the key benchmarks of the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the reformation of Liberia’s security sector following 14 years of bloody civil conflict. The empowerment of the Liberia Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), which continues to play a pivotal role in the country’s drive towards peace and security, remains the focus of the Liberian Government and its development partners. It is in this regard that LiNCSA received a donation of assorted Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) equipment to enhance the working of the Security Sector.

Speaking at a well-attended program during a handover ceremony at LiNCSA’s Headquarters, the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS, Ambassador BabaTunde O. Ajisomo, expressed delight and gratitude to the government under the leadership of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah for the leadership role in maintaining peace and stability in Liberia and the West African Sub-region.

Ambassador Ajisomo pointed out that the President of Liberia has made significant gains in the area of regional collaboration, information sharing and has maintained outstanding relationships with members of the diplomatic circle.

According to a LiNCSA press release dated September 1, 2020, the ECOWAS Senior Diplomat to Liberia praised the leadership of the Chairman of the Small Arms Commission, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II, for his pragmatic leadership in uplifting the Commission through smart arms control programs as well as his efforts to curtail the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Liberia.

“Upon his courtesy visit at my office, with his Vice Chairperson, I was impressed with his briefing and the level of work he has done, especially with Civilian Arms Registration Exercise (CARE-2020) which is geared towards licensing and record keeping of civilian arms, particularly hunters”, Ambassador Ajisomo observed.

He also acknowledged the enthusiasm of the Chairman of LiNCSA for his collaboration with key national security institutions, stating, “strong collaboration with the security sector in mind will help prevent the further spread of small arms and light weapons in the region”.

One particular area of concern, Ambassador Ajisomo stressed, is the upcoming senatorial election in Liberia and the elections in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger among others.

The Ambassador noted, the Small Arms Commission and all security actors, including diplomatic partners have a key role and responsibility in the Election to preserve peace.

He furthered that he has no doubt that the support to LiNCSA, especially security equipment intended to ensure adequate record keeping and effective monitoring, will be used for the intended purpose, particularly recording, marking and destroying obsolete weapons.

Meanwhile, receiving the equipment on behalf of the Liberian Government, the National Security Advisor to the office of the President of the Republic Liberia, Honorable Jefferson S. Kanmoh, conveyed gratitude on behalf of President Weah to ECOWAS for the donation of assorted security equipment to include: Hand Pallet Trucks, Security Camera System, Server with Qwerty Keyboards, Deskstop with Qwerty, OTP Key, Network Cables Electric Extension Box, UPS 600VA, UPS 1,000 VA, among others.

Hon. Kanmoh said, the donation of the equipment to the Government of Liberia will help to improve record keeping, surveillance and the overall stockpile management of arms and ammunitions. He further said that the security equipment will also enhance accountability and effective monitoring.

Honorable Kanmoh assured ECOWAS that the equipment will be best used in the interest of national security and applauded the Commission for the great leadership in helping to address issues of arms proliferation.

For his part, the Chairman of the Small Arms Commission, Atty Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, thanked ECOWAS for the donation, stressing that Liberia has always been fortunate to receive support from donor partners.

Chairman Grigsby said, his leadership will continue to work with the relevant security actors to ensure that obsolete weapons are recorded, marked and destroyed to avoid any possibility means of diversion and or future security threat.

He lauded the President of the Republic of Liberia for the continuous support to the Commission through the office of the National Security Advisor. Chairman Grigsby also extended appreciation to national security actors, with emphasis on the Ministry of National defense (Armed Forces of Liberia-AFL) and the Liberia National Police and partners for their continued cooperation and support as demonstrated by their willingness to always honor invitations to attend LiNCSA’s functions.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the framework of the European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate Programme (ECOWAS-EU PSS), made the donation to Liberia as part of a larger support to enable ECOWAS Member States to improve physical security and stockpile management on the basis of the ECOWAS road map to promote the effective implementation of Article 16 of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

The Handover program was attended by high level Representation of the Government of Liberia to include the Office of the National Security Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Liberia National Police, Ministry of Defense, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), and Members of the Fourth Estate.

In closing, the Vice Chairperson of the Commission, Madam Bennietta T. Jarbo thanked the participants and reaffirms the Commission commitment to rid Liberia of illicit small arms and light weapons within and across the borders of Liberia. Madam Jarbo called on the Government of Liberia to consider additional budgetary support to the Commission for the successful implementation of the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise (CARE) to ensure sustained peace and combat illicit possession and trafficking of arms by criminal enterprises within and across the borders of Liberia.

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