30 July 2007

Ghana: Minister Urges Citizens to Fight Against Illicit Small Arms and Weapons

Ho — THE MINISTER for Interior, Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah has called on Ghanaians to join the fight against the manufacturing and the use of illicit of small arms in order to protect the fragile democracy being enjoyed as well as to help sustain the country's development.

The Minister noted that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons posed a threat to democracy and development in Ghana and the sub-region in view of the implications it would have on human security as the manifestation of effects of the use of unapproved arms in some Africa countries still remains a worry to governments.

This was contained in a speech read for the Minister, by his Deputy, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu at a ceremony in Ho where parcels of small arms were destroyed to mark the United Nations (UN) weapons Destruction Day in Ghana.

It was organized by the Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons with support from the UNDP.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah said it has been empirically established that small arms kill more than half a million people on the average each year globally while thousands more were maimed and forced to flee their homes to become refugees.

The Minister continued that the proliferation of small arms sparks human rights violations escalates conflicts which undermine the political and socio-economic development of the people saying, Ghana should avoid such situations.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah stressed the need for Ghanaians to live in harmony, settle their differences and resolve conflicts through dialogue rather than resorting to the use of small arms as means of addressing disputes.

The Minister used the occasion to commend the chiefs and people of Nkonya and Alavanyo as well as the Mediation and the Consultative Committees chaired by the Moderator of the E. P. Church, the Rt. Rev. Dr. L. K. Buamah for their efforts in bringing peace to the area.

In a speech read on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure by the Programme Manager, Mr. Daniel Andoh said hundreds of thousands of children have been among the victims of small arms and light weapons who were exploited to participate in conflicts which small arms were used.

He therefore stressed the need for a collective effort to combat the local manufacturing of small arms, trafficking and the proliferation of small arms in the society noting that small arms and light weapons could only be seen as legitimate when in the hands of government law enforcers and security personnel.

On his part, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. K. K. Marfo said the recent cases of crime being experienced in the country were due to the proliferation of light and small weapons owned by criminals to engage in organize crime.

He explained that the National Security was worried about the recent development hence efforts were being stepped up to cap down on such criminals in the society and called for support from the public to help by way of providing information that would help in police investigations.

The Deputy IGP said it was too early to start "reading meanings" into the recent shooting incidents in Tema since investigation was still ongoing to unravel the course and perpetrators of the crime noting that the Police so far were making progress and asked Ghanaians to have confident in the Police.

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