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Experts recommend ban on chemical, nuclear weapons

BY: Seth J. Bokpe
File Photo
File Photo

A technical committee of experts in weapons, ammunition, and security has recommended that Ghana ban all chemical and nuclear weapons from entering or leaving the country.

However, the use of chemical and nuclear agents for peaceful purposes, including energy generation, research and for antidotes to diseases, including anthrax, is permitted.

The recommendations were made at the end of a two-day workshop to approve a list of weapons and ammunition that will be allowed to enter or leave the country last Saturday.

The workshop, which brought together participants from the security services, some ministries, departments and agencies and academia, is in conformity with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an international instrument to regulate the trade in conventional arms and ensure peace, safety and global security.

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Control List

Known as the Control List, the draft list of weapons is expected to be validated by all stakeholders before it goes to the Cabinet for approval and subsequently forwarded to the ATT Secretariat in Switzerland.

The list comprises approved and unapproved weapons, ammunition, their parts, components and any material that can be used in the manufacture, assemblage or repair of weapons and ammunitions.

The report on the control weapons list should have been submitted in May last year but had to be suspended because of the country’s election.

Prohibited

Speaking to the Daily Graphic after the workshop, the Executive Secretary of the National Small Arms Commission (NSAC), Mr Jones Applerh, said the recommendations meant that: “We have prohibited them totally in Ghana and nobody is authorised to bring such weapons to Ghana.”

While the participants were unable to agree on who should sign the end-user certificate for weapons, he said that decision would be left in the hands of the Cabinet.

“Currently, it is the function of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. In some instances, the Ministry of Trade signs for the end user.

“When it comes to competent authority that can bring weapons into Ghana, we settled on the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Defence,” he added.

He said the Ghana Armed Forces would look at that list and decide on what suited the country’s purpose and get back to the Small Arms Commission for it to complete the list.

Participants also agreed on industrial explosives that could be used by mining companies and how they should be treated, as well as the guns that should be in the hands of civilians — cap guns for festivals, pomp action guns, revolvers and pistols. However, civilians are banned from owning automatic rifles.

Conventions

The recommendations also conform to the Chemical Weapon Convention—a multilateral treaty to which Ghana is a signatory. The convention bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.

The Ghanaian experts’ decision is also in agreement with the Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) which outlaws the use, possession, development, testing, deployment and transfer of nuclear weapons, as well as mandates internationally verifiable dismantlement of nuclear arsenals.