Nana Afrim-Darko, the Oti Regional Security Co-ordinator has appealed to Ghanaians, especially, the security agencies to help protect the country’s territories.
He said the security agencies ought to protect the country’s sovereignty and national territories’ from external attacks since it shares boundaries with countries, which have experienced violent extremism.
Nana Darko said security is about protecting the territories, society and individuals.
The Regional Security Coordinator explained that when violence erupts, it is women, children, aged, sick and the disabled that suffer must, so they must do everything possible to maintain the prevailing peace in the country.
He made these statements at a Youth Activists’ Workshop organised by National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), with support from the Ministry of National Security at Kadjebi in the Oti Region.
The programme was under the theme: “Empowering Ghanaians to stand for National Cohesion and Inclusive Participation”.
Nana Darko advised the youth not to join any secessionist groups to disturb the peace of the country.
The Reverend Vincent Darkpo, the Kadjebi Local Council of Churches (LCC) Chairman, called on Ghanaians to cherish peace and cohesion by co-existing as one people.
This, he said, was the bedrock of success, fortune development that Ghana had been noted for.
He said progress and accomplishment were achievable and attainable only in an environment of peace and tranquillity.
Rev. Darkpo, who spoke on the theme: “National Cohesion and Peaceful Co-existence as an important aspect of National Development”, said one greatest gift God could ever bless a nation with is peace and cohesion, so the citizenry must do everything possible to safeguard it.
The LCC Chairman, who is also the Kadjebi Head Pastor of the Deeper Life Bible Church, was however, not happy with utterances from the leaders of the major political parties, economic hardship, secessionist activities, terrorism, and young people from Ghana joining Jihad groups, since these posed security threat to the country.
He thus called on the youth to help arrest these emerging threats.
Mr. Abdul Jalil Yusif, the Kadjebi National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) Officer, in a presentation read on his behalf, said the manifestation of contemporary violent extremism and terrorism in West Africa had been its transnational nature, where an attack executed in one location might be premeditated in another, with human and material resources from multiple other locations.
He said Boko Haram, Ansar Dine, Ansaral al-Sharia, AQIM,ISWAP, MUJAO, among other terrorist groups had vowed to extend their operations to the southern and coastal cities to increase their operational theatres and spheres, focusing recent attacks on “soft target” to cause extensive civilian casualties, perpetuate fear and draw high levels of attention.
Mr. Yusif, who presented a paper on the topic: “National Security Strategy and the National Framework for Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Ghana”, which was read on his behalf by Detective Sergeant Bismark Tettey Walker, the Kadjebi District CID, named youth bulge, youth unemployment, poverty, limited education and skills, unregulated cyberspace, exposure to extremist/radical groups, and marginalization/discrimination as the causes of extremism and radicalisation.
He said Ghana was no exception from increasing threat of violent extremism and terrorism because the country’s contribution to the United Nations and Regional Peace operations.
Mr. Yusif said groups such as “Invincible forces, Delta force, Azorka boys, Bamba boys, Kandahar boys, Papavi boys, Sufi Al-Tijaniyya and Sunnah with their violent extremist actions in the past and present were likely to plunge the country into chaos if unchecked.”
He mentioned the formulation and use of The National Framework for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism (NAFPCVET) document by Ghana as a measure in countering the situation.
On Western Togoland Movement, he said violent and deadly events at Mefe, Aveyime, Juapong, Akuse and Ho in September and October, 2020 affected lives and property and must be avoided.
Superintendent Michael Asiedu, the Kadjebi District Police Commander, advised the youth to desist from violent acts, especially, political vigilantism as the law would be applied squarely if arrested.
Supt. Asiedu, who presented a paper on: “Grievances Handling procedures: Public Order Act, I994 (Act, 491), Vigilantism and Related offences Act, 2019 (Act 999) and Alternation Dispute Resolution(ADR), explained that political vigilantism which means being watchful and fully awake to ensure nothing untoward happens had nothing to do with violence.
Detective Sergeant Bismark Tettey Walker, the Kadjebi District CID, who read Supt. Asiedu’s paper said “a person who takes part in an activity of a vigilante group armed with an offensive weapon commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen years and not more than twenty-five years.”
The youth of the Kadjebi District in a communiqué after the workshop resolved to live in peace, be each other’s keepers, abide by the laws of Ghana and report any suspicious characters in their communities to the law enforcement agencies.