Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has called on militants and criminals to key into the ECOWAS-EU small arms and light weapons disarmament project and surrender their weapons to enable government help them get sustainable lives.
Mr. Ayade, represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu stated this Thursday at an event organized by the Presidential Committee in Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOMSALW) to launch the disarmament program of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) in the West African sub region.
Mr. Ayade said government is poised to providing a viable alternative means of livelihood; an offer which he said the committee will make to militants, gangstars, armed robbers and kidnappers.
He appealed to the youths not to subject themselves to life in the creeks that has no value, but sufferings and fear. The governor enjoined the traditional rulers and sponsors to refrain from instigating communal crisis resulting to loss of lives as killing one another will bring about generational evil curses which he said can be prevented by embracing peace which the state is noted for and pledged the state government’s support towards the success of the project.
Earlier, the chairman PRESCOMSALW, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe explained that the formal launching of small arms and community engagement in the state is a milestone in the quest to partner the state government to initiate and implement the disarmament project at the state level.
Ambassador Imohe stated that, the ECOWAS – EU SALW is an initiative of the ECOWAS commission seeking to encourage Civilian disarmament at community level and to provide an alternative livelihood as well as micro projects to individuals who voluntarily surrender their arms under this initiative and the communities from which weapons will be discovered.
He said the proliferation of SALWs is a global challenge accounting for over five hundred thousand deaths annually translating to one live being lost every minute across the world.
Also, the EU and the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) representatives, Mrs. Enobong Momah and Mr. Fred Ampia said the effect of small arms proliferation in communities will lead to armed robbery, gangstarism, kidnapping and killings and called on residents to embrace peace and refrain from conflicts that will deter human development.
Furthermore, a destruction mobile armoury was handed over to the state at the event.