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Is Ghana a lawless state?

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 Source: Chronicle

Yesterday's shooting incident at Avenor, near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, leading to the death of one person perceived to be a landguard, has raised the debate as to whether Ghana is gradually becoming a lawless state. It has now become common to see individuals or group of people openly brandishing guns, and firing them under the least provocation.

In most cases, the guns used are sophisticated ones, used by the security agencies. During the recent Akwatia bye-election, there were reports that some civilians were seen openly holding guns and firing them to scare their political opponents. A similar incident was also reported from Chereponi and in Tamale and Bawku, all in the northern part of the country, it is no more news for the media to report about people openly brandishing guns and firing them at random.

During the recent skirmishes at Agbogbloshie in Accra, where some people lost their lives, there were reports that people were seen firing guns. What has now broken the camel's back is the Avenor issue, where, as we noted earlier, one person died.

A group of people were said to have invaded the place early in the morning, and fired several shots. In fact, the least said about the wanton display of guns by civilians in recent times, the better it is for the nation.

The Chronicle thinks these negative developments that are gradually emerging in the country, should be a worry to any person who values his or her life. In countries where the proliferation of arms is the order of the day, the people have not known peace.

We can mention examples like Iraq, Somalia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone, among a host of others. In fact, the situation in Somalia, for instance, has deteriorated to the extent that one of the factions in the dispute decided to give out an AK47 assault rifle with bullets and a hand grenade, as a prize to a contestant who won a quiz to end the recent Ramadan fasting in the country.

Ghana might not have reached this point yet, but if this menace is not nipped in the bud, we may find ourselves in a similar situation. The Chronicle is therefore appealing to the security agencies and the general public, to help curb this practice of freely brandishing weapons/guns in the open, and using them to kill people. The government must tighten security at all the country's entry points to avoid the smuggling of small arms into the country.

About three weeks ago, a South African newspaper, The 'Daily Sun', published a story about the arrest of a Ghanaian at the Durban International Airport, who was trying to smuggle small arms into Ghana.

We believe that if the South African security agencies were not vigilant, the smuggler would have succeeded in bringing illegal weapons into the country.

It is therefore important that the security agencies move to tighten security at our entry points.

Ghana is internationally considered as a haven of peace, and all hands must be put on deck to fight against the creeping phenomenon of gunfire at the least provocation.

Columnist: Chronicle