Ghana News Agency (Accra) – The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCSALW) says it will destroy more than 1,200 confiscated small arms in November this year. The Commission said this is part of efforts to create awareness of the dangers of illicit firearms in the country.
Gyebi Asante, deputy director of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, said the exercise is also intended to prevent small arms from entering the society. He said the management and control of ammunition should be given much attention by state institutions, in addition to the right policy interventions.
With the right policy intervention, technical and financial support, including requisite training for blacksmiths’ associations to control the manufacture of illicit artisanal small arms, the industry could be promoted to create employment for the youth, Asante said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
Asante said the blacksmithing industry could be harnessed properly for manufacturing quality household goods, farming implements, auto parts, hospital screens and metal beds, among other items.
He said this will strengthen the fight against production of artisanal small arms through close collaboration with blacksmiths’ associations and channel their skills and energies into meaningful ventures.
With 2020 being an election year, he said, the Commission is embarking on intensive public education and awareness creation in nine selected hot spots across the country to promote peaceful and non-violent elections on 7 December.
He said it will engage all stakeholders, including the media, political parties, youth groups, opinion leaders, faith-based groups and civil society organisations to promote a gun-violence-free society in the interests of sustainable peace before, during and after the elections.
“7 December is about going to the polls, not throwing blows. In fact, all of us must become victors, irrespective of which party wins, not victims of any elections,” Asante said.
Tracking the guns
He urged the public to desist from acquiring firearms without authority, particularly as Ghana inches closer to the elections, and to have confidence in the security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Commission is marking state-owned weapons and all registered civilian firearms to enhance accountability and promote easy tracking and identification.
The Commission says that according to a survey conducted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in 2014, there are about 2.3 million small arms in civilian hands.
Out of that figure, 1.1 million remain unregistered, he said, though 1.2 million have been registered with the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service.