Pay attention to grassroots sensitisation to prevent violent extremism – Foundation urges govt

The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) has urged the government to pay attention to grassroots sensitisation, education and awareness creation as the surest way to prevent and counter the menace of violent extremism and terrorism.

It said the activities of violent extremist and terrorist groups in West Africa had been on the increase since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s neighbouring countries had suffered one form of attack or the other.

“Ghana’s neighbouring countries, such as Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo, have recorded one form of attack or the other although the Sahel Region of West Africa is currently the epicentre of violent extremism and terrorism and the threat is gradually spilling over,” the Foundation lamented.

A statement signed and issued by Theodora Anti, the Acting Executive Director of FOSDA, observed that the case of Ghana provided clear example of the contagion effects of violent extremism and terrorism in the coastal states due to its strategic position on the West African map, although it appeared the country had not witnessed any direct attack.

The call was contained in a statement issued after a Youth Sensitisation Workshop on ‘Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism and Terrorism’ which brought together 28 FOSDA Peace Ambassadors across the county aimed to give first-hand training on violent extremism and terrorism for the youth in response to the threat through grassroots sensitisation, education and awareness creation.

It noted that Ghana had managed so far to prevent attacks despite its vulnerabilities which raised the critical questions about Ghana’s seeming resilience against the risk of violent extremism and terrorism and how it was responding to the scourge, especially at the border communities.

Earlier, speaking at the workshop, Ali Ibraheem, Programme Officer, FOSDA, indicated that the factors that made the country vulnerable to terrorist attacks and violent extremism were complex and wide-ranging which included both the push and the pull factors.

“The push and pull factors being the structural conditions conducive to violent extremism and terrorism to emerge includes but are not limited to the socioeconomic conditions of the grassroots, marginalisation, discrimination, poor governance, corruption, abuse of power, violation of human rights and rule of law, prolonged and unresolved conflicts, vigilantism and radicalisation in the prisons,” he cautioned. -GNA

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