Monday, August 31, 2009

Ghana steps up measures to ratify ECOWAS Small Arms Convention

Government on Friday charged the newly constituted Board of Ghana National Commission on Small Arms (NATCOM) to end the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the country. "The re-constitution of NATCOM Board is an encouraging sign of Ghana's readiness to work closely with other member states of ECOWAS to reduce the proliferation of small arms, which has stifled the economic and political development of the sub-region for almost two decades," Mr Cletus Avoka, Minister of the Interior, told the new board of NATCOM in Accra."You are mandated to put in place programmes of action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW, educate and sensitise the public and provide information on the dangers of small arms in order to discourage their production," he added.Mr Avoka also charged the Board to ensure that deliberations under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Small Arms Programme were complied with, including the ratification of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW.The Board, among other functions, is to advise the Minister on the formulation of policies and strategies as contained in the Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons and other relevant international conventions to which Ghana is a party. The Commission will receive and study periodic reports from the Ghana Police Service on the registration and licensing of arms. The Minister said the inauguration of the Board was a demonstration of the country's readiness to join forces with other sub-regional institutions and countries to collectively address the small arms menace.The 14-member Board is chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Ohene Asare (Rtd) and includes Colonel K. Appiah Agyapong and Lt Col. Charles Agyemang Prempeh both of the Ghana Armed Forces. Others are Mr Baffour Dokyi Amoa, President of the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA); Ms Nana Antwiwaa Dodoo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr Kwaku Ohene Agyei, Ministry of the Interior; and Ms Gertrude Aikins, the Attorney General's Department. The rest are Mr John Dogbe, National Security Council; District Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Frank Adu Poku and DCOP John Kudalor, the Ghana Police Service; Mr Moses K. Gyamfi Ghana Immigration Service and Major Nicholas Darbo (rtd) CEPS. Squadron Leader Atta Egyir Fynn Mends and Commissioner of Police (COP) Mrs Jane Donkor (rtd) are Government's nominees.

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