SMALL ARMS COMMISSION ROUNDS-UP COMMUNITY SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME

The National Commission on Small Arms and Light weapons (NACSA), has rounded-up its 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 was carried out in Odododiodio in Accra, Bekwai and Asawase in Ashanti Region, Yendi and Chereponi in Northern Region and Akwatia and Atiwa in the Eastern Region.

Executive Secretary addressing a gathering during a Community Sensitization Programme

The acting Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Mr. Jones
Applerh at the various sensitization programmes reiterated 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, 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 everyday.

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 US$5.7 billion.

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 recognize 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.

Other speakers at the programme commended the Commission for organizing such event. They advised the public not to engage in activities that would jeopardize the lives of other members of their communities and also called on politicians to advise their supporters not to resort to the use of guns to settle political differences as it would not help to achieve the goals of a peaceful election.

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

The sensitization programme was organized by the Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Present at the various programmes were Members of Parliament, DCEs and MCEs, chiefs, parliamentary aspirants, assembly members, opinion leaders, heads of security agencies and students.