DEPUTY MINISTER of the Interior, Hon Kweku Agyeman Manu, has called on all citizens of ECOWAS countries to join in the efforts to curb the misuse of small arms and light weapons in the sub-region.
Hon Agyeman Manu made the appeal in a speech read on his behalf by Dr K.K. Marfo, deputy Inspector-General of Police at the Training of Trainers' Workshop on Lobbying, Campaigning, Planning and Congress of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) in Accra.
According to him, armed violence was still on the ascendancy in some communities in the sub-region despite efforts by governments in the region to reduce the human carnage.
He pointed out that it was difficult to sustain peace accords due to the manufacture of small arms both locally and internationally.
“For almost four decades, the West African sub-region has been rated as one of the most active conflict zones in Africa, where some of the worst atrocities have been visited on innocent children, youth, women and the elderly,” he noted.
However, he observed that the peace efforts of some governments in the sub-region against the canker had paid off.
Expatiating, he said: “A number of countries which were once engulfed in awful civil wars are now enjoying relative peace.
These countries have now made progress in rebuilding their war-torn countries.”
In an address, Baffour Dokyi Amoa, chairman of WAANSA, advised the participants to commit themselves to the eradication of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in West Africa since weapons destroyed peace.
He expressed the hope that those who manufactured arms locally would be provided alternative livelihood to curtail arms proliferation, reduce armed violence and bring about effective gun control in the sub-region.
Deliberations of the meeting, attended by delegates from Senegal, Nigeria, Mali and Ghana and representatives of non-governmental organisations, were to help speed up ratification of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
By Samuel Boadi