From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, VP Sumana Commissions Small Arms Head Office
By Sayoh Kamara
Sep 24, 2010, 14:31

Vice President Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam Sumana yesterday, 23rd September 2010 commissioned the head office of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons situated at the Old Ministry of Defense Building, State Avenue in Freetown.

In his welcome address the Commissioner of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Brig (Rtd) Leslie M. Lymon noted that the journey that has brought them so far was not undertaken by the staffs of the Commission alone, as it was undertaken with both the material and moral support of certain personalities, institutions and organizations.

VP Sam Sumana delivering the Keynote address as Brig (Rtd) Leslie M. Lymon & Defense Minister Palo Conteh looks on

He mentioned the UNDP as one such institution that has played pivotal role in supporting them in the formulation and implementation of their programmes, and providing substantial logistic and financial support for the strengthening of their Directorate through the provision of vehicles, IT equipments and support for a national survey to determine the status of small arms and light weapons in the country.

He revealed that the responsibility to collect arms and its distribution activities in the country has now been transferred to his Commission. He commended the ECOWAS Small Arms Control Programme (ECOSAP) establish in 2005 with the full mandate to build the capacities of National Small Arms Commissions and Civil Societies of Member State for their interventions, noting that ECOSAP had contributed immensely towards the strengthening process of the Commission by providing a Land Cruiser vehicle to facilitate its projects implementation activities as well as funds for the refurbishment of the new office.

Brigadier Lymon also disclosed that ECOSAP had actively supported the training of staff of the Commission in Ghana and in other institutions within and outside the continent.

Delivering the keynote address, Vice President Sam Sumana described the commissioning of the Commissionís building as a milestone in the fight against the scourge of small arms and light weapons and the struggle for sustainable peace and security in the country and the sub region in general. He said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the sub region has generally fueled conflicts in a manner that the peaceful world had not known before.

VP Sumana assured ECOWAS and the rest of the countryís development partners that government will put in place the necessary tools and provide the required support especially in the area of budgetary support in order to help the Commission realize its objectives and obligations in line with the overall campaign against the instruments of war, noting that the misuse of small arms and light weapons continue to deprive the people of their basic rights to life, peace and security.

He extended gratitude to ECOSAP, UNDP and all other development partners for the support they have provided for the Directorate since its establishment as a National Focal Committee. He however called on ECOSAP and all security sector partners to stand by the Commission and help nurture it to maturity. He reiterated the fact that the erstwhile Directorate is now a fully fledged National Commission on Small Arms by an Act of Parliament known as the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA) Act 2010.

The Honourable Vice President said because government considers the role of the Commission as pivotal in the enhancement of peace, stability and safety in the overall governance of the country, it wasted no time in allocating the ground floor of the former Ministry of Defense Building to house the Commission so that it can register its impacts.

Further statements were made by UNDP Country Director and the National Security Coordinator. The ceremony was chaired by the Chief of Staff at State House, Dr. Keifala Marah.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.