Residents along the country’s borders have been called upon to collaborate with security services to prevent foreigners from using unapproved routes to enter into the country in the wake of threatening terrorist attacks.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr John Yibile, made the call yesterday when he expressed concern over the porous nature of the country’s borders given the number of unapproved routes in the area.
Addressing participants at a workshop organised by the Wa Municipal office of the NCCE yesterday in Wa, Mr Yibile said it was incumbent on residents to stay alert and lead the crusade against violent extremism and terrorism.
The workshop was in line with a European Union (EU) funded project dubbed “Preventing electoral violence and providing security to the northern border regions of Ghana”.
“As residents you are in the better position to report suspicious characters since you are more familiar with the environment and would recognise intruders who were not part of you.
“The porous nature of our borders coupled with the proliferation of small arms and light weapons into the country constitute real threat to the nation and a source of worry to the people; given the activities of Islamic fundamentalists in the Sahel region along the borders of Ghana”, he said.
The deputy director also lamented the presence of a thriving environment that could facilitate the recruitment of persons into extremist groups in the country and called on Ghanaians to guard against them.
“The absence of an alternative narrative to violent extremism and terrorism and the emergence of the belligerent political vigilante groups pushes the country’s political temperature to a crescendo breaking point: if you live in a country where a spade is called a long spoon and the right to vote is only a human right but the bread belong to the privileged few, violence is inevitable”, he spelt out.
Mr Yibile whilst advocating citizen’s alertness and collaboration with security services in the country, also asked for restructuring and of national and global practices to ensure that citizens were given enough reasons to want to express patriotism towards the nation.
For his part, the Municipal Director of the NCCE, Mr Isaac Padoh outlined that the specific objectives of youth activists’ engagements across the country was to strengthen peace building mechanisms, build community based mechanism for countering violent extremism and also sensitise the public on basic community based strategies for countering arms proliferation in the country.
“The essence of this is to help energise the youth and use it positively to promote peaceful coexistence and shun violent extremism ion Ghana”, he added.
A resource person, Reverend Dr Timothy Seidu of the Baptist Church, Wa in a presentation on Peace building mechanisms, mentioned law abiding and forgiving, the need to preach peace and use dialogue to address grievances as well the resisting evil opportunists as some key areas for peace.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA