ECOWAS warns FG against allowing militants, terrorists access to chemical weapons

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has warned the Federal Government against ignoring the possibility of the Boko Haram insurgents and Niger-Delta militants using biological and chemical weapons for terrorism.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Mrs. Halima Ahmed gave the warning Monday, at the ECOWAS Secretariat Abuja at the opening of a week-long “International workshop on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons”.

The event was organised by the National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions (NAC/BWC) Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Hague, Netherlands, the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS.

“ECOWAS is committed to ensuring that chemical and biological weapons threats are not allowed with the consequences of their usage in Syria and other parts of Middle East.

“On no account should Boko Haram insurgents and Niger Delta militants be allowed to have access to chemical and biological weapons in Nigeria or other terror groups inAfrica,” Ahmed said.

The Permanent Secretary Political and Economic Affairs and Chairman of the NAC/BWC Office Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose said the event seek to identify and bridge the gaps in the implementation of the CWC and proffer improvement and to also evolve a National Action Plan to guide and regulate the use and threat to the use of chemical weapons in Nigeria among others.

Also, the acting Director General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Mrs. Yetunde Oni said her agency also deals with chemicals apart from food and drugs that it is commonly associated with it.

She said there is increasing evidences that chemical can contribute to health, environmental and security problems at various stages during their life-cyclefrom production, import and disposal and that terrorists use chemical for improvised explosives hence the need for tighter controls.

The Director General, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu represented by the Project Officer, Assistance and Protection of the organisation EsmelOscar Meless urged the domestication of all legal instruments to prohibit usage of chemical and biological weapons  in West Africa and Africa.

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