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17.01.2005 Politics

Ethnic politicking is a threat to national security - FOSDA

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Accra, Jan. 17, GNA - The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) on Monday said the whipping up of ethnic, religious and political sentiments and personal vindictiveness into national politicking was a threat to national security.

Ms Afi Yakubu, Executive Secretary of FOSDA, said the escalation of armed banditry and the rumours that the country had become a transit point in arms trafficking in the West Africa Sub-Region as well as the numerous small arms manufacturing centres springing up in the country called for immediate governmental action against the proliferation of small arms.

Ms Yakubu was speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the on-going 53rd Session of the Economic Community of West African States Council of Ministers in Accra, where FOSDA is holding an exhibition on the harmful effects of arms conflict in the Sub-Region. The meeting precedes the 28th ECOWAS Summit schedule for January 19.

The two-day session on the theme: "West African Integration Perspectives -Searching for a New Development Model," would consider the annual report of the Executive Secretary, and the report on the status of ratification of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, Protocols and Conventions. The FOSDA Executive Secretary said as a nation; "we must begin to seriously consider the illegal possession of light weapons and small arms as a security problem.

"It is, therefore, imperative to identify, prosecute and punish illegal weapons manufacturers, brokers, importers and carriers," she said.

Ms Yakubu said armed banditry was fuelled by the easy availability of small arms.

About 50 youths bearing placards with inscriptions on the harmful effect of arms in the Sub-Region congregated at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, the venue for the conference to send a strong signal to the Leaders.

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