The National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, has described religious bodies and their leaders as critical players in safeguarding national security in the country.
He said the enormous power religious leaders wield enables them to touch the hearts and minds of the people in ways that no other institution could attempt.
“This places a moral obligation on you to lead the charge in creating an upright society that contributes meaningfully to the consolidating of the peace, unity and stability of the State,” he added
The minister was speaking at a day’s sensitisation workshop for religious institutions in Accra yesterday on the new National Security Strategy (NSS).
The programme was attended by representatives from the Catholic Bishop Conference, Christian Council of Ghana, Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Traditional Religion Practitioners, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council and the Council of Christians and Charismatic Churches.
It is aimed at among others, sensitising participants on the new National Security Strategy (NSS) launched by President Nana Akufo-Addo in June this year.
Already, the National Security Ministry had sensitised members of the Judicial Council, the Ghana Bar Association, the media and security personnel on the NSS document.
According to Mr Dapaah, the existence of religion and the belief in God were essential for the effective functionality of a civilised State.
The minister urged participants to ensure they got the full understanding of their roles and ultimately ensure that the members of the groups they led contributed significantly towards achieving the objectives of the NSS.
Meanwhile, some participants, during a discussion, expressed their readiness to collaborate with the sector ministry in the sustenance of peace in the country.
Nimo Blafo, a traditional religion practitioner and a board member of the National Peace Council, commended government for prioritising the safety of the populace by putting the NSS document together, saying the move showed how serious government took security matters.
He said the role of religious leaders in promoting peace in a given area could not be underrated, and bemoaned that the traditional religion had suffered a lot of intolerance from other religions in the country, adding that believers in the religion had tolerated all the negative occurrences just for the sake of peace.
Reverend father Andrew Campbell, a retired Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Accra, underscored the need for families to create a safe environment for children to live happily so that they do not run to the streets and engage in violent activities, robbery and other forms of criminal acts, which had the tendency of affecting national security.
According to him, high rate of crime and insecurity was a threat to the peace of the nation.
He also mentioned that security personnel, especially the police, must make it a priority to be friendly with members of the public instead of intimidating or extorting money from them.
Mr Abdul -Wahab Issah, a representative of the Ahmadiya Muslim Mission, on his part, stated that the sensitisation on the NSS was very important because “Ghana is an island of peace in a turbulent sub-region.”
Explaining, he noted that various researches had revealed that there were more terrorists in the world than what many people presumed.
These terrorists, he said, were after money so any country blessed with natural resources like gold, diamond and oil were targets.
“The Ghanaian is very religious; every Ghanaian belongs to one religious grouping or the other so if we could take advantage of this and talk to our people to be vigilant and keep an eye on strangers especially, we can ensure no unwanted human being keep probing their noses in our affairs.
“Let us ensure we do not accommodate people who can mar our peace,” he added.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU