Nige­rian leader slams arms dump­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

NIGE­RIA: Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan yes­ter­day de­nounced the dump­ing of small ar ms and light weapons in Africa by de­vel­oped coun­tries, call­ing it one of the ma­jor causes of un­der­de­vel­op­ment in the con­ti­nent.

Jonathan, who is sched­uled to speak to the G8 sum­mit on its Mil­le­nium Devel­op­ment Goals, told jour­nal­ists he would raise his con­cerns with world lead­ers, call­ing arms pro­lif­er­a­tion “one of the things that dis­turb me most”.

“The ex­ces­sive dump­ing of small arms and light weapons in Africa is one of the ma­jor fac­tors that re­tard the eco- nomic growth of the con­ti­nent,” he said. “They are man­u­fac­tured by the de­vel­oped so­ci­eties but dumped in Africa and they have be­come a ma­jor source of our own un­der­de­vel­op­ment.”

Jonathan said the “ex­ces­sive and free use of small ar ms and light weapons” had be­come so preva­lent in south­ern Nige­ria that the com­mer­cial city of Aba “was al­most closed down for weeks with­out eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties”.

“That tells you that in a place where you don’t have peace, you can’t have eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties that can stim­u­late wealth cre­ation,” Jonathan said.

He linked the spread of such weapons to po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity as well.

“That is why you see a lot of mil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions strug­gling to top­ple gov­ern­ments in Africa,” Jonathan said.

“Where the gov­ern­ments are rel­a­tively sta­ble, they use them (weapons) for crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties like piracy, trans­bor­der crimes, armed rob­beries, and caus­ing gen­eral in­se­cu­rity, and even kid­nap­pings.

“If these things are al­lowed to con­tinue, then of course, eco­nomic devel­op­ment of Africa will con­tinue to re­cede in­stead of ad­vanc­ing.” – Sapa-AFP

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