Niger: UNODC organizes an awareness raising campaign to collect and destroy firearms
Illicit trafficking of firearms represents a threat to security in the Sahel. Weapons illegally acquired by armed groups or terrorist organizations enable them to undertake activities further destabilizing an already precarious security situation in the region. Raising awareness, ensuring an adequate recordkeeping of firearms of national stock, and encouraging populations to hand over firearms has become crucial for governments to efficiently fight against firearms trafficking, and its consequences.
In this context, UNODC Global Firearms Programme launched an awareness raising campaign on 21 February 2018, Headed by the Ministry of Interior and Public Security, and the Governor of the region in the presence of the security and defense forces of Agadez, heads of schools and their students, non-commissioned officers and non-commissioned members, local elected officials and religious leaders, among others.
The objective of this campaign was to collect and destroy seized and confiscated arms in Niger. In the framework of this campaign, several weapons were collected: 25 weapons seizures in Abalak, which consequently led to the collection of another 138 weapons, and more than 500 centralized weapons in containers established in the region of Tahoua. In Agadez, 30 weapons were handed over by the population, in front of the Minister of the Interior and Public Security, as a positive response to the message developed during the collection campaign initiated in the region and following the awareness raising missions carried out in the country.
Additionally, various activities were also organized to raise awareness about this issue, including sporting, cultural and musical events. A conference-debate was also organized and led by UNODC, the public prosecutor and the head of the "Commission Nationale pour la collecte et le contrôle des armes illicites" (CNCCAI). The debate was broadcasted live through local radio and enabled many local stakeholders to openly ask questions regarding illicit firearms.
The UNODC Global Firearms Programme was established to assist states in building adequate criminal justice systems to effectively respond to the challenges posed by organized crime, specifically related to trafficking in firearms and related offences.
This activity is also part of the Sahel Programme, UNODC's contribution to the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel (UNISS). The Sahel Programme supports Sahelian States in their fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime through accessible, efficient and accountable criminal justice systems.