From left to right; SLANSA Coordinator, Adenike Cole), ONS Langoba Kieli’, Marilyn Palmer and AIG AL Sheik Kamara.
In a move to address crime rates and the rampant use of arms and ammunition in the country, the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA), on Wednesday 2nd August 2017, engaged Blacksmiths at CHASL Hall, Kingharman Road in Freetown to sensitise them on the Arms and Ammunition Act of 2012.
Giving an overview of the project, the Coordinator of SLANSA, Madam Adenike Cole stated that early this year, they conducted a survey to ensure that they get the right people who are involved in the Blacksmiths Industry in the country so they can identify those who are engaged in manufacturing small arms. She disclosed that the control of small arms is a major challenge in the African sub region. She went to say that as a civil society group, they are closely working with the Small Arms Commission and other line agencies fighting the same course in supporting government in curtailing crime rate in the country.
Adenike Cole assured the Blacksmiths that they are not forbidding from making guns but they must ensure that they do it within the ambit of the law. He informed them that as the country is gradually moving into elections it is but important to monitor those that are making guns in the country as it is one of the ways that they can maintain law and order in the country.
She revealed that making a gun outside the law is an offense and they should distance themselves from such to keep the peace of the State.
Madam Cole said that they got supports from their donor partners to engage Blacksmiths across the country to sensitize them on the existing law on their trade and to empower them.
Speaking on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Al-Sheik Kamara, narrated that the trade in manufacturing guns have started far back and that is one of the reasons that necessitated for the Law Against Small Arms and the Sierra Leone Police is there to ensure that people adhere to the law. He went on to say that; if you see someone with a gun and failed to report the person, you have broken the law. He said to the Blacksmiths that they may have learnt the trade from their fathers, grandparents or great grandparents and they made guns with a clear motive of making money. “You don’t have bad intension in making guns, but the law says, you should have a license of authorization, clearly states the number of guns you make, types of guns, well-marked and whom you sell these guns to, in a bid to keep records and control arms ammunition in the country” AIG Al-Sheik stated. He cited a recent incident in Bo in which the SLP arrested some blacksmiths with locally made pistols and this is against the law.
AIG Al-Sheik thanked the Blacksmiths who have come from afar to get knowledge on their trade which clearly implied that they are good citizens of this country. He called on them to feel free to come to the police if they needed more information and they will also help them on how to store them safely.
The Director, Office of National Security (ONS), Langoba Kieli’ said there is high trafficking of small arms along the porous borders between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He added that situation reports from across the country indicates, crime is on the increase and there is an urgent need to address it.”The uncontrollable use of small arms is a threat to peace and security and therefore advised Blacksmith to find an alternative source of livelihood” Mr. Kieli Cautioned.
However, Blacksmiths vowed not to make any gun as they want to keep the security of the state.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.