C’ssion on Small Arms Board inaugurated

Brigadier General Francis Agyemfra (retd)The Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga, on Friday, urged the new Board of Governors of the National Commission on Small Arms to come out with a policy to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the system.

He also asked the board to identify flashpoints where the weapons are being manufactured to ensure that they are regulated or curtailed..

Speaking at the inauguration of a 14-member board of the commission in Accra, Mr. Agalga said although Ghana was considered as the oasis of peace in the sub-region,the number of arms that were produced and circulated for illicit use in the country was worrying.

“Despite our success story as a peaceful country, there remains numerous age-old chieftaincy, land and other disputes all over the country,’ Mr .Agalga said, adding   “hardly a day passed by without news of domestic or armed robbery attacks on innocent people in our communities”.

Such incidents, he said, had fuelled the demand for weapons, thereby serving as a major source of illicit proliferation of small arms, adding that the misuse and abuse of such arms continued to remain a critical security challenge not only in the country, but also in the West African sub-region.

The deputy minister noted that the cost of repairing damages from small arms-related crimes and violence, far outweighs that of pragmatic preventive actions.

He urged the board to team up with the management of the Commission to devise strategies to prevent illicit manufacturing and trading in small arms, and to also strengthen import and export controls.

He also asked them to establish adequate database on small arms and light weapons to enable the country to adequately account for the arms in circulation.

The Board Chairman, Brigadier-General (rtd) Francis Agyemfra, said bearing in mind of what was happening in Nigeria, Mali, Sudan, Chad among other coubtries with the use of small arms, the Board would do all it could to ensure that such activities did not infiltrate into the country.

He said the board would also work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the menace of proliferation of small arms and their illicit use by organised criminal elements and insurgence was addressed.

The members are Col. M.K.G. Asante, Lt. Col. Benning, both of the Ghana Armed Forces, Ms. Jane Gasu Aheto, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Mr. Ebenezer Sam, Ministry of the Interior; Ms. Evelyn Keelson, Attorney General’s Department, and Mr. Felix Yaw Sarpong, Ghana Immigration Service.

The rest are the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department, Commissioner of Police, Prosper .K. Agblor; Mr. Emmanuel Sitso Quarqu Tangah, of National Security; Superintendent Wilfred Boahen Frimpong, Ghana Police Service; Mr. Foster Appenteng, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority; Mr. Jones Applerh of the National Commission on Small Arms; Naa Gomah Ahmed and Mr. Baffour D. Amoa of the West African Network on Small Arms.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour   

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