Violent extremists and terrorists’ attacks on some countries in the West Africa Sub-region are a wake-up call for Ghana to strengthen its security efforts and national cohesion, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has stated.
Mr Salifu Ibrahim, the Mamprugu Moagduri District Director of the NCCE explained that bordering countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Niger had all been attacked by terrorists and Ghana was no exception.
He, therefore, underscored the need to strengthen social cohesion and other peace-building mechanisms within communities especially those at the borders to ensure that the country was safeguarded against the infiltration of violent extremists and their activities.
The District Director was speaking at a youth engagement forum at Yagaba in the North East Region, organised by the NCCE with funding support from the European Union.
The engagement was part of the Commission’s awareness creation and sensitisation efforts dubbed, “Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE), aimed at preventing and containing violent extremism through the promotion of social cohesion, peace, and tolerance.
It was meant to also sensitise the youth on the negative effects of joining extremists group and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the legal frameworks that prohibit the activities of extremist groups in Ghana.
Mr Ibrahim noted that peaceful coexistence was critical to preventing violent extremism and appealed to the participants to use dialogue and other non-violent measures to resolve their differences to prevent internal conflicts.
“Peace and cohesion are what is needed to develop our communities, so we need to live peacefully regardless of our differences,” he said.
Inspector Rexford Cobbold, the District Police Commander for Mamprugu Moagduri, who took the participants through preventing violent extremism in Ghana, noted that the youth could play a critical role in preventing violent extremism and their contribution should not be underestimated.
He said apart from not being radical and joining extremist groups, the youth could support the security agencies to fight crime in their communities by being vigilant, forming community watchdogs to ensure surveillance and reporting suspicious characters to the security agencies.
Mr Sulemana Fatawu Nantomah, the Director of Asiribisi Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, reiterated the need to ensure national unity at all levels to build a beautiful and vibrant country to achieve accelerated and sustainable development.
He said it was the responsibility of everyone to secure the country and advised the youth not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to foment trouble but rather be agents of peace and educate their peers on the importance of peace to the development of their communities.