The National Commission on Small Arms has reminded people who have registered and obtained licence for their weapons, to renew their permits latest by December 31, 2018, to enable them to continue to use the weapons without falling foul of the law.
The commission said once the licence expired, those using such weapons would be declared as carrying illicit weapons and would suffer appropriate punitive action when arrested.
“By using a weapon with expired licence even for defending yourself, you could be jailed for 10 years or fined GH¢12,000 or both,” a Senior Programme Officer of the commission, Mr Johnson Asante-Twum, told the Daily Graphic in Sunyani last Friday.
The licence that permits individuals to use weapons expires on December 31 every year.
Mr Asante-Twum was briefing the Daily Graphic on the commission’s visit to border towns in the Brong Ahafo Region to sensitise the people to the need to be vigilant and assist the security agencies to prevent illicit weapons from entering the country.
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Some of the communities that the officials of the commission visited included Kofi Badukrom in the Dormaa Central Municipality, Kwameseikrom, in the Jaman South Municipality and Sampa, in the Jaman North Municipality, which share borders with Cote d’Ivoire.
The team also visited Japekrom and Drobo, where a dusk-to-dawn curfew had been imposed, as a result of violent clashes between residents of the two towns.
Mr Asante-Twum said the visit to the Brong Ahafo Region was in line with the commission’s effort to educate the residents on the dangers the proliferation of illicit weapons posed to the country.
“We have targeted the border towns because of the porous nature of our borders which make it difficult for the security agencies to police,” he explained.
Mr Asante-Twum said there was the need for the people to be sensitised to know that preventing illicit weapons from entering the country was a shared responsibility.
That, he said, could be done when the residents provided information about the suspicious activities of their community members.
He said with neighbouring Cote ‘Ivoire enjoying peace after going through conflict, there was the need for residents along the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire borders to be involved in monitoring so that people would not use Ghana as the storage place of the weapons used during the conflict.