The Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) past Friday formally opened their newly equipped office in Pademba Road in Freetown.
SLANSA is a non partisan, non profit making coalition of 15 local organizations.
Addressing the well attended ceremony, chairman of the Oversight Committee on Defence and Presidential Affairs, Hon Charles Kalawa said that, the fight against small arms and light weapons (SALW) is of great importance to this committee and the Sierra Leone House of Parliament adding that they are aware of the dangers of SALW.
He assured SLANSA of actualizing their core areas of work especially with the matter of policy and the legislative.
SLANSA national Coordinator, Florella Hazelley said that her organization is a national coalition of religious institutions and civil society organisations and networks, cooperating and campaigning to promote and popularize human security instruments, through advocacy on micro-disarmament for SALW.
She said their mission is to be a strong affective network providing quality information and education in both public and human security; promote constructive debates, emphasizing on solutions and best practices; assembling human and public security.
The National Coordinator reiterated that they operate in all four geo-political regions in Sierra Leone and membership cuts across the country.
Chief of Staff at the Office of National Security (ONS) Larry Bassie stated that the ills of SALW misuse cannot be over emphasized as all Sierra Leoneans know where they are coming from.
The office of ONS, he said values the long standing partnership with SLANSA and they fervently hope that with the establishment of Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA) the cooperation and collaboration will continue to be strengthened.
The Chief of Staff assured all that his office has an open door policy and they are more than willing to offer whatever assistance they can in their collective resolve to regulate illicit weapons in civilian possession.
The Director of Small Arms Brigadier Retired Modibor Leslie Lemon said that SLANSA is the Sierra Leone Chapter of the West African Action Network on Small Arms, (WAANSA) which is the civil society organization recognized by ECOWAS as the official civil society partner of Small Arms Commissions in the West African region.
He averred that, SLANSA was an active partner in the Arms and Ammunition Bill Review Committee and the Synergy Retreat on the Arms and Ammunition and SLeNCSA Bills.
As a result of the contribution of SLANSA, government and other partners, “I am proud to say that both Bills are now at advanced preparatory stages and the SLeNCSA Bill in particular that will eventually lead to the creation of the Commission when passed into law, has now been gazetted and in the process of being laid before Parliament.
Minister of Defence Paolo Conteh opened the office, while Reverend William A Ashcroft chaired the ceremony.