08.04.2005 Regional News

Campaign against small arms launched in Takoradi

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Takoradi, April 08, GNA - Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey (rtd), the Deputy Minister of the Interior, on Friday said a baseline survey undertaken by a committee set up by the government to look into the problem of small arms and light weapons revealed that there were about 120,000 small arms and light weapons in the country. He made this known at the launch of the Western Regional Awareness Raising Campaign on Small Arms and Light Weapons organised by the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Takoradi.

Captain Effah-Dartey said the survey showed that the arms and weapons were either smuggled into the country from conflict areas in neighbouring countries or were manufactured locally.

He said the government had designed alternative livelihood programmes for local manufacturers of arms and weapons as means of checking their proliferation and has tightened security at the borders to prevent their smuggling into the country.

Captain Effah-Dartey called on religious organisations, educational institutions and the general public to join the campaign against small arms and light weapons to safeguard the peace and stability of the country.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, said the issue of proliferation of small arms and light weapons should be taken seriously even though the country was now enjoying peace and stability. He said proliferation of arms and weapons destabilised some countries on the continent and resulted in protracted conflicts. Mr Aidoo spoke about conflicts in sub region appealed to the public to report illegal manufacturers of small arms and light weapons to the authorities.

Mr Daniel Andoh, a representative of the UNDP, said the programme had so far committed 500,000 dollars to the country's campaign against small arms and light weapon.

Launching the campaign, Nana Kobina Nketia V, Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, said politicians were the architects of Africa's problems.

He said Africa's politicians were always preaching what they did not practice. "They belonged to a special class of hypocrites". "I am sorry about this castigation of African politicians but they are the ones in control of this beautiful and rich resources of the continent."

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