Shortly before departing Washington D.C. on Wednesday April 14, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan called on members of the Black Caucus in the US Congress to stem the tide of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa.
The Acting President, who met with the Group at the Capitol Hill in the US Capital City, urged the caucus to come up with a draft bill for the control of the dumping of small arms and light weapons in Africa.
Dr Jonathan said attributed the increasing crime rate in the African continent to the free movement of small arms and light weapons , adding that economic growth in the continent would be affected if the trend was not curtailed.
"Africa is the dumping ground for small arms and light weapons and this scenario fuels crises in the continent.
"The resolve to curtail this worrisome trend will go a long way in checking the wave of violence in the continent.
The Acting President urged the caucus to use its influence to lobby the US Congress into promulgating law prohibiting the free movement of arm to Africa.
He commended members of the group for their consistent agitation for the liberty and for the protection of the black race.
"I am in the US on the invitation of Barack Obama to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit and I considered it a duty to spend some time with you, my fellow brothers and sisters.
We thank you for your concern on Africa and the roles you are playing in protecting the race," he stated.
Speaking on behalf of members of the caucus, the Chairman, Donald M. Payne said they were glad to receive Jonathan and excited over the changes he has effected in Nigeria since he took over as Acting President.
He acknowledged that small arms and light weapons is the "weapon of mass destruction in Africa".
Payne assured that they would look in to the request of the Acting President, taking into considerations the existing UN Convention on the issue and come up with a line of action
In a related development, the Acting President has assured that Nigerian Government would continue to formulate and implement policies geared towards the empowerment of women and youth.
Dr Jonathan stated this when he was received by members of the Atlantic Council also in Washington D.C, Wednesday.
He also briefed the Council on the progress made so far by the Federal Government on gender issues noting that government would continue to promote the cause.
The Atlantic Council is a non-partisan organisation based in the US that promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs.