The National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), northeast zonal office, on Monday paid a courtesy call to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Borno State.
Head of the NCCSALW, Rear Admiral Abdulrahim Mohammed Shuwa, accompanied by top officials of the zonal office was received by the Chairman of the NUJ, Dauda Iliya, his Vice Chairman, Abdulkareem Haruna, and Secretary of the Council Chiroma Ali Ibrahim and other top officers of the union.
Shuwa disclosed that the NUJ is the first organization he would be visiting outside the military sector since his arrival to the sub-region.
He said his mission to the NUJ was to introduce the government agency to working journalists and to forge a collaboration with the union as critical partners to the attainment of the NCCSALW core mandate.
The retired Rear Admiral informed the NUJ leaders that the establishment of the NCCSALW was in line with the requirements of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention for The Establishment of SALW Commissions by all 15 member states in their efforts to eradicate the proliferation of SALW in the region collectively.
“Thus, the NCCSALW is mandated to lead a multi-stakeholder process involving MDAs and civil society organizations in the
implementation of all national, ECOWAS and UN plans of action on the control of SALW.
Shuwa noted that the agreement informed the establishment of six zonal centres in Ado-Ekiti Calabar, Enugu, Kaduna, Minna, and Maiduguri by the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA)
The visitors took the time to lead the NUJ officials through a PowerPoint presentation on the core mandates and mission of the NCCSALW.
The Small Arms Control Boss noted that “when conflicts end or subside, small arms remaining in circulation may lead to additional violence and suffering since fighting can resume or conflicts may erupt in neighbouring regions,” he said.
“When small arms and light weapons are not mopped up in non-conflict areas, they could easily be used in perpetrating criminal violence or may be used in homicides, suicides, robbery.”
Quoting a 2007 small arms survey, Rear Admiral Shuwa said there are about 875 million small arms worldwide, produced by 1,200 companies in 90 countries that produced SALW.
“SALW has killed between 500,000 and 750,000 people annually,” he said.
He emphasized that the success of the NCCSALW cannot be guaranteed without the media’s full cooperation
In his response on behalf of the over 180 working journalists in Borno, Iliya thanked the NCCSALW Zonal coordinator and his team for the cherished visit, even as he said the NUJ would visit them soon.
Comrade Iliya, however, assured the visitors of the fullest participation of the NUJ in the activities of the Center, noting that everyone is aware of the menace of small arms and how its prevalence in Borno state has inflicted untold adversity on the state, its people, and their socio-economic activities.