We’ll stop spread of small arms, light weapons – President pledges

President Akufo-Addo with members of the Commission

President Akufo-Addo with members of the Commission

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed the government’s commitment to control the proliferation of small arms in the country, especially those manufactured locally.

 

The President described the situation as a national security threat and indicated that measures were being taken to curtail the proliferation and production of arms and light weapons.

 

“We live in a region where the proliferation of small arms is a matter of fact. It is not a conjecture. It is a matter of fact that is already fuelling significant conflicts in our part of the world,” he stated.

 

“The Jihadist insurgency in Mali, Niger, Northern Nigeria, and Chad are all a function of the proliferation of small arms in West Africa,” he said.

 

Although such conflicts had not engulfed Ghana, he said measures would be taken to ensure that the country was not consumed by “the raging fire that is consuming so many countries in West Africa”.

 

President Akufo-Addo said this when officials from the Small Arms Commission called on him at the Presidency in Accra yesterday.

 

While commending the commission for the work it was doing, he said the government was aware of its challenges and would give the officials the necessary support.

 

He urged the officials to continue the work, despite the inconveniences and difficulties and appealed to them to be dedicated to the cause of controlling arms due to its security implications.

 

President Akufo-Addo said there were facilities in the country manufacturing local arms and entreated the commission to help the government bring that under control.

 

“There is a tendency to think that all the arms that are in proliferation in our country are smuggled in from across our borders.

 

“But in fact, our own domestic facilities for manufacturing arms, they are not very sophisticated but they exist and they are part of the security architecture of our country.

 

“We don’t seem to have enough focus on them and the measures that we need to control their proliferation and the manner in which they are produced. It has to be very much part of your mandate,” he said.

 

President Akufo-Addo stressed the need to bring the issue to the notice of the public to ensure that those who engaged in them were identified and controlled.

 

The Chairman of the Small Arms Commission, Rev. Frimpong Manso, briefed the President on the activities of the commission and appealed to the government to review the Act establishing it to clarify its mandate and powers.

 

He also appealed to the government to review the current Arms Control legislation and indicated that the commission would soon present a draft bill on arms and ammunition to Cabinet for consideration.

 

“The bill seeks to close the gaps in Ghana’s arms and ammunition control. Mr President, we humbly ask that when the bill gets to your desk, you will give it the necessary attention,” he said.

By Yaw Kyei                                                                        

 

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