The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has expressed concerns about the proliferation of firearms in the country.
Interacting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong Boanuah, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II equally alluded the hikes in gun ownership by citizens to their distrust in the police force.
“I read yesterday that there are a lot of small arms in the country. Why is that so? If it has gotten to a point that civilians are purchasing small arms for themselves then it means the people do not trust you. You will have to consider that critically”.
The Asantehene charged the police to deal with the issue of proliferation of arms in the country and to also painstakingly investigate recent cases of insecurity in the country especially highway robberies.
He revealed that the ability of police to handle such issues will contribute to peaceful elections.
“There has been an increase in highway robberies recently. Even members of Parliament have become targets with one losing his life to highway robberies. You have been trained to investigate such matters. I entreat you to investigate all the issues. It is all towards ensuring peace in the upcoming election”.
He challenged the police administration to bring finality to criminal cases reported to their outfit in order for the general public to have confidence in them.
The IGP on his part expressed the police administration’s resolve in addressing such issues.
Elsewhere, Jones Applerh, the Executive Director of the Small Arms Commission, commenting on the matter, noted with a sense of puzzlement that, the sharp rise of gun acquisition by citizens is due to the insecurity they feel in the country.
In his view, the rise of criminal activities in the country has forced individuals to purchase guns for self-protection.
“I don’t think it is really because of the elections, a lot of people have the idea that it is because the election is approaching but I don’t think so. I believe Ghanaians are peaceful people but clearly from the kind of insecurity and other related matters that we have heard across the country has caused a lot of people think that, by owning a firearm they can protect themselves”.
He however, expressed worry over the fact that the actual intent by groups of people who process these guns may not be actually known.
As such, the paucity of firearm review poses serious threat to the country.
“According to police data, we have about 1.2 to 1.5 million people owning firearms, but yearly, we get about 30, 000 people renewing and that cause for concern. This is because we don’t know whether people to go under the radar to use their weapons to commit crimes, whether the weapons gave been stolen and the owners have not reported or whether the gun has become obsolete.”
Mr. Applerh said for a Commission that is supposed to help stop the proliferation of small arms, it gets worrying and begs the question on why people would think it best to possess a gun.