President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the National Commission on Small and Light Weapons to pay critical attention to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons manufactured in the country and address the problem.
He explained that the domestic manufacture of small arms had not attracted critical attention because there was the tendency to believe that all illegal small arms in the country were smuggled into the country.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when members of the commission paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House on Tuesday.
According to him, it remained a fact that domestic facilities for the manufacture of arms, though not sophisticated, remained a part of the security architecture of Ghana and did not seem to attract much attention.
The situation, he stated, required the needed focus, together with measures to control the proliferation of small arms.
He charged the commission to collaborate with the central government to publicise and educate the people on small arms and help control those who engaged in their manufacture.
President Akufo-Addo stated that all the development projects and socio-economic advancements, the policies and progress of work by the private sector and civil society would not make any impact if there were a state of insecurity and an arms conflict.
He observed that Ghana was sandwiched in a sub-region that was awash with an increasing number of illegal arms, a situation that was fueling conflicts, some by jihadist insurgencies that could be found in northern Nigeria, Chad and Mali, among others.
The President said Ghanaians should be grateful to God that those conflicts had not engulfed Ghana and stressed the need for the country to work hard to ensure that the measures needed to keep the conflict off its borders were effective.
He described the commission as a very important institution whose work was of great significance and commended the members for accepting to work in that area.
The President noted that apart from ECOWAS instruments, Ghana had appended its signature to about 10 other international treaties, some of which had not been domesticated.
The government, he said, was putting in measures and mechanisms to domesticate those treaties and halt the instances when treaties were signed but not domesticated, even after decades.
He urged the members of the commission to continue their work, saying their enthusiasm should not be dimmed because of challenges that they faced, since their work was critical for the safety of the state.
The Board Chairman of the commission, Dr Paul Frimpong Manso, said the commission believed it was time to review the current arms control legislation.
He indicated that the commission was taking steps in that direction and would, in due course, present a draft bill on arms and ammunition through the Ministry of the Interior for consideration by the Cabinet.
The bill, he stated, would seek to address gaps in Ghana’s arms and ammunition control and expressed the hope that it would receive the necessary attention by the Cabinet. Graphic GH