September 23, 2015 By Regina Pratt
Head of the Peace and Conflict Department at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone has called on President Ernest Bai Koroma not to approve the issuance of gun licenses to individuals in the country.
Mrs. Memunatu Pratt was speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the national consultative conference on Infrastructure for Peace in Sierra Leone. The conference is themed “paving the roadmap and strategies towards the creation of a peace infrastructure in Sierra Leone: an opportunity for its legitimisation by the Constitutional Review Committee”.
The peace and conflict expert said Sierra Leone is ranked 8th in the Global Peace Index 2015 based on three indicators: current domestic and international conflict, social safety and security, and militarisation.
Madam Pratt opined that for the country to maintain or even better that ranking, it was her hope that President Koroma would not pen his signature to a document granting licenses to purchase guns because “Sierra Leone does not need guns now”.
“We are struggling with Ebola and flood,” she said, and noted that it is not in the interest of the country to talk about guns as there could be huge implications for the security and safety of individuals.
Sierra Leone has signed both the ECOWAS Small Arms Convention and the global Arms Trade Treaty which seek a tight and transparent regime on guns in both civilian and military hands.
However, the country enacted a new arms and ammunition law in 2012 which does not preclude civilians from possessing arms, but only after they have secured a valid license from the National Small Arms Commission.