Findings of a survey carried out by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) indicate that there are about 2.3 million weapons [guns] in the custody of civilians in Ghana.
The survey findings come a day after a 36-year-old man carried a loaded gun into the church where President John Mahama and his family worship.
[contextly_sidebar id=”6vQQk8lYA5hExJ24zoK3ypyhxAW0SVVY”]Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Head of Small Arms and Light Weapons at KAIPTC, John Mark Poku stated that these weapons are either brought from outside the country or made in Ghana.
“They are coming from within, they are coming from without and they are also part of this long stock that is already in the country,” he said.
“We are also talking about a thriving local manufacturing weapon industry but we tend to pretend that they do not exist and yet they are producing weapons for politicians, they are producing for criminals…,” he added.
In Ghana, licenses to bear arms are renewable after every December 31 of each year but the survey indicated that less than 35,000 weapons issued to civilians by the police were renewed each year, apart from 2005 when 61,778 weapons were renewed.
Mr. Poku said there are some weapons that have been issued to civilians legally but “because they have not been able to renew their licensing after some years, it becomes illegal for them to possess such weapons.”
How to get rid of guns
Government has in the past asked residents in conflict prone areas to exchange their weapons to the security agencies in exchange for cash but these calls have not yielded any results.
In September 2014, for instance, only two residents in Bawku in the Upper East region surrendered their guns in exchange for cash.
Giving solutions to these problems, Mr. Poku admitted that “it is not easy to ask somebody who has a weapon to surrender it. You need to find out why they have the weapons in the first place.”
“They feel insecure and that is why they do that and so to address this problem you have to deal with that insecurity,” Mr. Poku added.
He said the KAIPTC is therefore recommending measures to mitigate “the potential of people using these weapons and to also ensure they use the appropriate procedures.”
By: Marian Efe Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana