GNCSAA opens office at Elubo border
The Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Ammunitions in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday opened a new office at the Elubo border, in the Jomoro municipality of the Western Region.
The office, comprising a front desk, offices for in-charge, data processing, research and an interrogation room, is part of efforts to decentralise operations in Ghana, especially on the western frontiers.
At the ceremony, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ms Afi Z. Yakubu, noted that, the post had arrived at Elubo border at a time the sub-region was broiled with security issues.
West Africa, for example, over the years, has been faced with civil unrest in so many fronts, she said.
“We have witnessed insurgencies going on from country to country, especially with small arms and light weapons, most of which we do not manufacture in our countries. But, they are the weapons that are threatening our very existence and we fight it with collaborative efforts,” Ms Yakubu added.
She argued that it would take several efforts of individual governments and the collectivity of agencies in the sub–region to address the challenges of proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
She said, the commission in Ghana, and other countries, were established with the realisation of our governments that “we need to collaborate in order to share intelligence, work together to address the cancer of illicit weapons in the hands of insurgent groups and criminals.”
The Sector Commander at the Elubo border, Assistant Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division, Rev. Joseph Gyan Mensah, said the people along the Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire border were families and friends and therefore, handling issues was “a delicate balance.”
Reiterating that light weapons were offshoots of proliferation of small arms, he said, conflicts, terrorism, social upheavals and tension, posed a serious threat to Africa’s development.
Rev. Mensah said “When people begin to acquire guns, then you can be sure to see conflict all over Africa, particularly in our own sub-region. Gangs abducting people because they carry guns, they will walk into a town and shoot anybody on sight and take others hostage because they carry weapons.”
“And so the issue of small arms and light weapon has become such a delicate and a serious one of consent to governments within Africa and in our own sub region, West Africa. So when this thing got to me that the Light Weapons and Small Arms Commission wanted to establish a presence here, I was greatly overjoyed,” he added.
The Regional Coordinator of Small Arms and Light Ammunitions at the UNDP Regional Hub for West Africa and Central Africa, Frederick Hans Ampah, also harped on conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, saying, “you don’t have to wait for it.”
He recognised the need to decentralise the Commission for security agencies, explore use of technology to identify movements across the sub-regions.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, ELUBO