A total of five distinguished Ghanaians were on Tuesday awarded with peace prizes for promoting religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among Ghanaians at the 10th Dialogue and Peace (IFTER) dinner in Accra.
They included Reverend Professor Paul Frimpong-Manso, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church and a member of the National Peace Council, the second, the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Iddi Seidu, Nana Dr Atekoasere Oteng-Boadu, Gyasehene of Mamfe Akuapem and Kyidomman Traditional Area and a security consultant to the state of Ghana and eminent Muslim scholar, Sheik Umar Ibrahim Imam.
The annual event, organised by the Ghana Turkey Corporation and Development Association (TUDEC), attracted several distinguished personalities including a former Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheik IC Quaye, the Osu Mantse, Nortse Nii Nortey Owuo IV, religious leaders, politicians and government officials.
TUDEC, founded in Ghana in 2011 by a group of professionals in business, educational, medical and legal sectors to facilitate cultural, commercial and humanitarian exchanges in Ghana, also works to promote partnerships in all aspects of the Ghanaian economy.
It was also established to arrange various educational exchange programmes, organise charitable donations for the needy in society, as well as provide social amenities for schools, hospitals, and boreholes for deprived and rural communities.
The dialogue was also established to identify personalities who promoted peaceful coexistence in the country.
A Director of TUDEC, Dr Nabil Nuamah, speaking at the opening, indicated that Ghana was a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that was unique in Africa in terms of peaceful coexistence.
The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, commended TUDEC for the various support it has granted the Council over the years.
He described the days event which was aimed at promoting cultural co-existence, improving mutual understanding and dialogue between various faiths, culture and race was timely considering the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism activities in the Sahel and other neighboring countries.
According to him, the threat of terrorist and violent extremist attacks has heightened discourse within the security circles in Ghana, given the porous borders across the sub-region.
“The growing fears of the spread of extremist groups across West Africa including Ghana and other domestic threats which provide fertile grounds for violent extremists, adding “chieftaincy and ethnic clashes, farmer-herder conflicts, violent demonstrations, armed robberies, proliferation of arms, drug trafficking, political polarisation, vigilante groups, kidnappings and violent communication through the media are all threats to the country, he added.
The National Peace Council, Rev. Dr Adu-Gyamfi, explained training has started in some border regions as part of dealing with such threats, and hoped to extend the training to all the border regions in the country.
He said it was time stakeholders worked together as peace agents towards building sustainable peace in Ghana and the continent because “Peace is a priceless commodity, but can be very expensive if not nurtured with love, unity and tolerance to each other’s faith, adding as we celebrate the evening, let’s all come together as one people irrespective of our religious believes, culture and race to work towards a sustainable peace.
Sheikh Salma Mohammed Alhassan said peace was the lost treasure of mankind that must be appreciated, as such all mist dialogue to appreciate each other.
Nii Owuo called for more concrete actions on job creation for the youth to prevent them from joining extremist groups.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU