General News of Tuesday, 16 August 2016
In a bid to control arm possession by individuals as the country heads to the 2016 general election, the government has declared a 32- day amnesty to help retrieve all unlicensed guns in the country.
The intervention which spans from August 22 to September 23 would afford Ghanaians in possession of unregistered arms to either get them registered or turn them in to the police.
This decision was announced by the Interior Minister, Prosper Bani when he addressed a news conference Tuesday.
He explained the programme, which is the third intervention after two similar programmes had failed, has been designed to conform to best practices globally so that “uncontrolled possessions of small arms in Ghana” which has led to the death of innocent Ghanaians is put under control.
“Within 32 days all citizens who are in possession of weapons that have not been registered have the pleasure to come and register them at the various police centers where weapons are registered,” he said.
According to him, “beyond these days, should there be anyone in possession of illicit weapon and the police or any person comes across it this person shall face the full rigours of the law.”
By law, any one with an illegal possession of weapon in the country flouts the Criminal Code 1960 (Amended) section 96, Mr Bani said, adding, if anyone is found with unregistered arms after the deadline, the person would face a “sentence of a minimum of 10 years.”
He said it is in the collective interest of everyone, both Ghanaians, and foreigners, that the government eliminates the dangers associated with the possession of illicit weapons in this country.
As a result, he has entreated “all well-meaning Ghanaians and foreign residents in Ghana” to make use of the programme in order to prevent any future armed attacks.
Executive Secretary of the Small Arms Commission, Jones Applerh, was confident this intervention would help address issues regarding unlicensed arms in the country.
He said the “Gun for Cash” programme which was undertaken by government in Bawku failed because there were issues of mistrust which were not resolved.
Mr Applerh noted the amnesty would work because of the thinking and work that have been invested in it.
Meanwhile, a Security Analyst with the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Center says the 32-day amnesty granted by the government to retrieve unlicensed weapon in the country would not yield any result.
Dr Kwesi Anning says this effort by the government is not different from previous ones.