Liberia National Commission on Arms Embarks on Public Awareness…
By: J. Kortu Nyandibo/Contributor
Kobal City, Kolahun District…The Liberian National Commission on Arms (LINCA) has embarked on a nationwide campaign against arm violence during and after the 2023 President and Legislative Elections.
The Campaign Is Being Held Under The Theme: “Ballot Not Bullet”.
Addressing group of citizens and residents at the Kornortaikor Intellectual Forum in Foya City, Foya Statutory District, the Acting Chairperson on LINCA, Hon. Thomas K. Kollie, said that the Commission has over sixty (60) staffs across Liberia that are involved with the creation of education and awareness on arm free violence during these electoral period. He said that the exercise is intended to provide education and knowledge to citizens and residents of a violence free elections through the distribution of flyers, radio talk-shows and community engagements on how to ensure a peaceful elections free of violence come Tuesday, October 10, 2023.
Commissioner Kollie encouraged the gathering to be good citizens by reporting illegal firearms to the Commission or the Liberia National Police.
Speaking on the importance of a violence free elections in Liberia, Hon. Kollie said Liberia has had a lot in full view of fourteen years of arm conflicts which small arms played a leading role in the conflict.
He said Liberians are today enjoying unhindered peace in the country and therefore it is the responsibility of all Liberians to maintain the peace that the nation enjoys.
He further told the gathering that as commission, it is their responsibility to ensure that Liberia is free of the proliferation of arms and control to make sure that this elections goes free of violence and protest by arms.
Responding to questions on the actual function of the LINCA, Hon. Kollie informed the people the functions of the commission is to regulate policies regarding arms control in the Republic of Liberia. He further stressed that the Commission has the authority to ensure that all legal arms are registered, licensed and recorded in databank of the Commission. All single barrow arms are as well registered with the Commission for security purposes as means of ensuring the proliferation arms in our country is curtailed.
Also, he indicated that the law requires that citizens in possession of arm that has not yet been registered should be arrested and prosecuted, but noted that the law also provides an exception. The exception is the hunters because their arms are used for livelihood purposes and they also have them registered and be licensed by the National Arm Commission.
Commissioner Kollie further told the gathering that his Commission will start the registration of single barrow guns immediately next year for hunting purposes.
He said LINCA currently has regional coordinators in Bong, Bomi and Sinoe Counties and working to create two additional offices in Voinjama and Sinoe. He said that these offices will have assigned officers to carry out the work for the commission in collaboration with the joined securities in those areas. He informed them that every security agency in Liberia has a small arms units because they are all in collaboration with the Small Arms Commission.
Mr. Kollie hailed the willingness of citizens and residents of their preparedness to maintain the relative peace and calling on all to inform the commission through the Police of arms proliferation in their respective communities.
“Arms are dangerous to the fiber of the society. We witnessed the war that was fought for nearly fifteen years in the land and brought only destructions to this country and now that we are government that is in power and making sure that we enjoy the peace and that is the message that our President is carrying around and we have the obligation to get the public and to always preach the word peace people and telling them that violence is not the way.
Commenting on the Tuesday, October 10, 2023, we want to urge all of our citizens in and across our borders to be very peaceful, kind and used the “Ballot Not Bullet” Theme and report any arm they see in their respective communities to the Commission.”
He hardly spoke on relationship of LINCA with other arm control Agencies in the ECOWAS sub-region, noting that the “ECOWAS Convention came into place since 2006, brings together fifteen West African States and they have Arm Commission established and we are collaborating and networking. We meet every month as Commissioners to discuss on matters relating to the control of arms in the region.
The discussions were followed by remarks, questions and answers from citizens who wanted more and clearer understanding and clarities on the works of the LINCA and the controls on arms.