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AS AFRICA’S LEADERS MEET IN ETHIOPIA — OVERCOMING CONFLICTS IN AFRICA – BEYOND LIP SERVICE

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Developments of the past decade concerning insecurity in Africa call for concern. Therefore, it is very commendable that leaders of the poorest continent in the world are meeting to address the problem of security breaches that appear to be engulfing the continent like bush fire. No serious society leaves its security to adversaries. Continental interests and security are very important to the successful accomplishment of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union. THE KEY ISSUE: Terrorism and conflicts have become pronounced and are causes for bother. It is worrisome that as of 2014, there were about 500 million illicit weapons in circulation worldwide. One factor that would very much determine the future of Africa is the trend of violent crimes and armed conflicts on the continent. Very disturbing is the increasing dimension of the proliferation of arms and armed conflicts as these constitute the greatest causes of instability in the region. The situation has been blamed on some unscrupulous security personnel who either sell out or aid criminal elements. A January 2014 report by the National Working Group on Armed Violence, (NWGAV) in conjunction with the UK-based Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), estimated that ‘’over 80 percent of weapons in private hands were acquired illegally. PROLIFERATION OF ARMS: The 24-page Report titled: ‘The Violent Road’ quoted the director of AOAV, Mr. Iain Overton, as ‘’decrying the high rate of proliferation of illegal arms because the illegal arms dealers operate unchecked. As part of recommendations from the report, Overton said the governments need to do a weapons stockpile management, which entails marking and tracing of small arms.’’ It was estimated that about 100 million of such are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Commander of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (MISMA), Major-General Shehu Usman Abdul Kadir, revealed that Nigeria alone accounted for at least 70 percent of the illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) circulating within the West African sub-region. He noted that the figure was further broken down to about eight to 10 million concentrated in the West African sub-region, with Nigeria taking the lion share of about 70 percent of the 10 million illegal weapons. More alarming however is the revelation by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on how little children are exposed to these weapons at a tender age. UNCONTROLLED ARMS TRADE: The Report further explained that the uncontrolled trade in small arms and…

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