[ 2012-04-23 ]
Weapons on the loose
One hundred and twenty-five thousand illicit guns
are in circulation in the country without any form
of data or record indicating where and who owns
them, according to a baseline study in 2004.
According to the report, about 400,000 small arms
are in circulation in the country. A little over
half of the number 220,000 is in civilian hands.
Only 95,000, representing 43.2 per cent, are
registered, leaving a significant 56.8 per cent or
125,000 unaccounted for.
The figures have increased tremendously since the
last study as a result of past and current
inter-ethnic wars, illicit trafficking, porous
borders and modern day chieftaincy, land and other
disputes, experts say.
Addressing journalists at a three-day
sensitisation and capacity building workshop at
Sogakope in the Volta Region, the Executive
Secretary of the National Commission on Small Arms
and Light Weapons, Mr Jones Applerh, said about 80
per cent of police arrests and investigated cases
show that weapons used are local weapons made by
blacksmiths and through other artisanal
Mr Applerh noted that attention seems to be
tilting towards fighting crimes such as armed
robbery, car snatching, drug abuse, among others,
whereas the equally important aspect of
proliferation of small arms and light ammunitions
receives minimum attention.
The issues affecting us now are terrorism,
fundamentalism and these are all because of arms
proliferation, he claimed, adding that although
Ghana has one of the most stringent laws on the
procurement of small arms and light weapons in the
sub-region, activities of brokers, coupled with
porous borders and weak border management have
allowed a sharp increase in arms proliferation in
He said although there are 30 licensed brokers
allowed to bring weapons and ammunition into the
country only six are active, possessing the
financial capacity to import weapons into the
He called on authorities to delve deeper into
activities of the brokers to check whether brokers
properly disposed of weapons before applying for a
permit to import other consignments.
According to him, Ghana spends so much money in
rebuilding infrastructure, which gets destroyed
during ethnic conflicts, and rehabilitating post
war victims, a process which condemns the country
into a vicious cycle of poverty.
He described as irresponsible actions of people
who patronise illicit small arms and light weapons
with the excuse that they are protecting their
chief or they feel insecure without weapons.
In some war-tom towns in the northern part of the
country, some people cannot provide shelter or
food for themselves yet they are able to save up
to GH¢470 or GH¢500 to buy an AK47 riffle, he
The head of the ECOWAS Small Arms Unit, Dr
Cyriaque Agnekethom, in his submission, said
although ECOWAS member states have agreed to ban
the transfer of small arms and light weapons into,
from and through their territories, activities of
foreign brokers who are not subject to the
convention compound the situation of small arms in
Under the convention, member states can only be
exempted to procure arms from authorised
manufacturers in the event of illegitimate defense
and security needs.
The Executive Secretary of the National Media
Commission, Mr George Sarpong, said awareness
raising campaigns designed to change people's
knowledge, attitudes and behaviours are important.
He tasked journalists, government officials and
the public to play their respective roles to end
the scourge, especially as Ghana goes to the polls
in December this year.
Source - The Finder
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