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Regional News of Monday, 13 June 2005

Source: GNA

Expose carriers of small arms in society - Dery

Wa, June 13, GNA - The Media and security agencies have been urged to intensify their surveillance and watchdog roles to stem the influx of small arms and light weapons into the country. To ensure its success, workers at the entry points should be empowered to tighten security and give information to expose perpetrators to halt the trend.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister, stated this when he launched the campaign against the misuse and spread of small arms and light weapons at Wa at the weekend. The programme, which attracted the security personnel, Media and other stakeholders among other things highlighted on the rights and responsibility of people, who possessed small arms in their homes.

The Regional Minister said the Government would do everything possible to empower the Ghana National Commission on small arms to execute its duties effectively and called on other stakeholders to co-ordinate with them to ensure a violence-free society. "I call on stakeholders, including the media and security agencies to strengthen their inter-agencies collaborative strategies, ensure the free flow of information on small arms and to co-ordinate regularly," he said.

Divisional Chief of the Samba Traditional Area, Naa Dr Banka Nagyaala Ora II, who was the guest speaker, asked the people to erase the erroneous belief that injustice could not be surmounted without the use of arms. "We also need to address factors such as chieftaincy and land disputes and religious conflicts to be able to get rid of small arms and light weapons".

Naa Banka appealed to courts sitting on chieftaincy, land and religious cases to expedite action to avoid the use of violence to attain justice. Mr Daniel Andoh, Programmes Officer of United Nations Development Programme, said the project had four major components - capacity building of National Small Arms Commission; awareness raising and education; support to the National Firearms Bureau and baseline survey of small arms proliferation. He said his outfit would continue to support the Commission to make Ghana a peaceful place to live and invest.

Deputy Minister of The Interior, Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey (rtd), who chaired the function, appealed to the Media not to sensationalise matters concerning national security. "Such a mistake can throw the whole country into a state of confusion and turmoil," he said. The programme was organised by GNACSA and sponsored by UNDP.

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