Finland has provided 750,000 euros (about 900,000 U.S. dollars) to aid the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS) war against the proliferation of small arms.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Wednesday by ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas and Finish envoy to Nigeria Anna-Lisa Korhonen, the grant will be spread over three years with the first tranche to be paid this year.
The MOU added that the grant "is to go into the ECOWAS Small Army Control Program (ECOSAP)."
Korhonen said at the ceremony that the agreement was her country's first on ECOSAP, expressing her hope that the fund would be well utilized.
Chambas, in his remarks, lauded the Finnish government for the gesture and promised a judicious application.
The Finnish grant and other contributions would be paid into the ECOSAP Trust Fund which is controlled and managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the project's activities.
ECOSAP is expected to implement a three-year work plan for which donors pledged 12 million dollars last October.
The proliferation of small arms has been largely blamed for incessant violence in the West African sub-region with ECOWAS reports indicating that there were more than 10 million of them in circulation.