Monrovia – The ECOWAS Directorate of Peacekeeping and Regional Security in partnership with the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) has begun the training of 25 State Security Armorers in Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) Course in Liberia.
Speaking at the official opening program, National Security Advisor to the Office of the President, Honorable Jefferson S. Kanmoh said, that peace and security is very cardinal, and remains the most important needs of the Liberian people.
Hon. Kanmoh noted, that considering the bitter past of the country where lives and properties got destroyed, government according to him takes the training of the security sector very seriously.
The National Security Advisor indicated the support of the President, His Excellency Ambassador George Manneh weah, and called on those that will benefit from the In-Country PSSM Training to take the five days with utmost seriousness.
Hon. Kanmoh said those that are managing the country’s national arsenal have crucial responsibilities to promote peace and stability in Liberia and the sub-region.
In his statement, the National Security Advisor acknowledged the support of ECOWAS and foreign partners for their continuous support to the progress of Liberia.
Liberia Small Arms Commission Chairman, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, for his part placed emphasis on the unregulated use of firearms, which he noted is causing serious problem within the country.
Chairman Grigsby asserted that unless State Security Officers, especially armorers who are the custodians of state weapons are given basic training in arms management, the fight to control small arms and light weapons remains meaningless.
The Small Arms of Liberia Chairman said if State Security Armorers are not properly trained in their respective areas there could be mishandling of state weapons and such may hinder the growth and progress of the country.
Chairman Grigsby lauded the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), ECOWAS and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) for providing technical and financial support towards the training of State Security Armorers into Physical Security and Stockpile Management and the Commission’s vision of ridding small arms and light weapons in Liberia and across its borders.
Also making special statement during the opening ceremony was the Officer in Charge and Resident Representative, Office of the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Mr. Nathaniel B. Walker said, that ECOWAS Commission is determined in its commitment towards addressing the threats to peace, security and stability in the region, noting that ECOWAS legal frameworks are providing Member States with responses in dealing with current as well as emerging security challenges. Mr. Walker pointed out that there are potent instruments at the disposal of ECOWAS for dealing with peace and security challenges in the region, stressing the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons is mainly dedicated to addressing the proliferation of small arms in the West African Region.
The Officer in Charge and Resident Representative told participants mainly State Armorers that the ECOWAS Convention has achieved a lot with the help of Member States in combating easy access and widespread availability of small arms in the region.
He said that political measures are in place in order to mitigate the easy assess of weapons by establishing standards and best practices, emphasizing that the ECOWAS Convention also takes into consideration appropriate storage site for weapon management and recordkeeping as well as storage managers, depot commanders are conducted in keeping with best standards and practices.
Mr. Walker commended the ECOWAS Commission and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) for granting the request of the Government of Liberia through the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms for the In-Country Competency Training on PSSM.
Honorable Jefferson T. Koijee City Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Mr. Jarlawah Tonpo Deputy Minister of Information for Press and Public Affairs and the Inspector General of Police, Patrick T. Sudue, graced the opening program. In their respective remarks, they labeled the PSSM In-Country Training as a remarkable benefit for the peace and security of the state.
The PSSM Training which is under the sponsorship of the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), through BICC’s project on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control in Africa gets underway at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor, and brought together 25 State Armorers from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Executive Protection Service (EPS), National Security Agency (NSA) and the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) as well as Small Arms Control Experts from the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms.
The training will provide participants, particularly State Armorers with practical knowledge 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 Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons and to also increase the capacity of the country to fight the illicit proliferation of small arms and their ammunition as well as improve participant’s knowledge to prevent diversion from state stockpiles as well as unintended explosions. More importantly, the training will improve PSSM knowledge and skills of Liberia stockpile managers with the aim to promote the application of best practices, norms and standards for the management and security of stocks.
Regional Security Experts who graduated from the PSSM Training of Trainers course in Nigeria are serving as facilitators during the intensive five days of training.
Participants will be familiarized on voluntary international standards as well as best practices in the storing and handling of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) as well as Conventional Ammunition (CA).
Another key area of concentration during the training will be placed on International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATGs), an internationally accepted global frame of reference for developing national standards and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of ammunition stockpile management and the MOSAIC, the Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium, a global agreements aiming at preventing the illicit trade, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of SALW including the United Nations Programme of Action, the Arms Trade Treaty, among others.
The in-country PSSM Training of State Armorers was triggered from an official request by LiNCSA 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 in Liberia and across its borders.
Of recent, a six-member delegation from the ECOWAS Commission Directorate on Peace and Regional Security and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) concluded a five-day fact-finding mission to set the stage for the training of 25 State Security Armorers in advanced Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM).