Ghana intensifies campaign on control, production of small arms and light weapons

The Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light weapons (NACSA), has intensified campaign on public awareness and education against the proliferation and misuse of small arms and armed violence in all ten regions in Ghana.

This sensitization exercise had already been carried out in Odododiodio in Accra, Bekwai and Asawase in Ashanti Region, Yendi and Chereponi in Northern Region.

The Commission will visit Akwatia and Antiwa in the Eastern Region and finally end with Ashaiman and Agbogbloshie all in the Greater Accra Region.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Mr. Jones Applerh announced this during campaign launch on Small Arms and Light Weapons at Yendi in the Yendi Municipality of Northern Region.

Mr. Applerh indicated that the Small Arms Commission was working to contribute towards conflict prevention during the December 2012 elections by the collaboration with communities working together for peace.

According to the Executive Secretary without doubt small arms remain the key instruments used by disgruntled individuals and group of persons to visit untold hardships and mayhem on human race leading to loss of lives and property every day.

He said in 1991 in Burundi 300,000 people were killed and at least one million displaced with which researchers have put the total economic cost of the conflict at 5.7 billion dollars.

Mr. Applerh said Liberia’s conflict between 1989 and 2003, cost an estimated 250,000 lives and forced more than one million people to abandon their homes and livelihood.

He added that just like Burundi, Liberia’s legacy of conflict affected their socio-economic development and today their country’s level of health care is among the worst in the world.

He noted that these countries were all very peaceful like Ghana except that they failed to recognise what proliferation of guns could do to their society.

Mr. Applerh stated that a whole Commission had been established to deal with guns proliferation with more policemen been recruited over the years with its attendant provision of logistics.

He said a Border Patrol Unit had been put in place by the Ghana Immigration Service for the borders and an amendment section of the Criminal code to make illicit possession of guns a first degree felony instead of a misdemeanor.

He said what that means was that anyone caught with weapons without license could be jailed for life.

The Yendi Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Issah Zakaria expressed his gratitude and commendation on behalf of the Chiefs and people of Dagbon for the choice of Yendi as one of the venue for the programme and for the support and training given to artisans particularly blacksmiths to build their capacity in farm implement fabrication instead of small arms.

The theme for the launch of the campaign is “Gun Violence, a threat to Peace Security and Development”.

Mr Zakaria noted that the people of Dagbon had had the bitter experience of violence – chieftaincy conflict in 2001, which brought untold hardship, insecurity and retarded development.

He reminded Ghanaians that the fight against the production, sale and the use of Small Arms was not the business of only the security agencies but the concerted efforts from all and Sundry especially the GPRTU, Blacksmiths, Religious leaders, Governmental and Non-Government Organizations.

He said the Police working on a tip-off for a concealment of large small arms on board of vehicles heading for north on several bus stations and check points. He indicated that this collaboration needed to be strengthened in order to win the campaign against Small Arms.

He said the timing of the launch was most appropriate because of the country’s upcoming elections in December.

The Yendi Municipal Police Commander, Mr. George Aboagye called on the people in the area to join hands for the fight against the production and control of small arms and light weapons.

Source: GNA

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