As part of its mandate to educate the general public on important national issues and to create awareness on the rights and responsibilities of the Ghanaian citizenry, the Ada West District office of the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, with support from the Ministry of National Security has embarked on community education and sensitization on violent extremism and national cohesion. It was under the theme: “Empowering Ghanaians To Stand For National Cohesion And Inclusive Participation”.
It aimed at sensitizing equipping the citizenry, especially the youth with the basic knowledge on regulations and laws such as the Public Order Act, the Vigilante Act, the National Security Strategy and the National Framework for Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Ghana.
It also sought to create awareness on grievance handling procedures and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms as well as step-up orientation on Patriotism and Nationalism as important elements of national cohesion.
Participants were drawn from the various Churches, Mosques, Political Parties and Youth Clubs in the Ada West District.
They were encouraged to reject support and recruitment into violent acts, extremism and execution of terrorists’ ideologies.
The Greater Accra Regional Director of the NCCE, Madam Lucille Hewlett-Annan, in her presentation said the objective of the programme was to empower the youth to eschew secessionists movements and their related consequences and rather embrace national cohesion and inclusive participation in governance.
She noted that Ghana is a unitary state and the 1992 constitution is the supreme law of the land, which enjoins us as Ghanaians to live peacefully with one another.
Madam Hewlett-Annan encouraged participants to always practice patriotism and nationalism; saying they are important elements for the safeguarding of our national cohesion and stability.
She said to achieve national cohesion, participants need to preserve, protect and defend the lives, interests, territories and possessions of citizens, adding that; our national values for justice, equality, inclusion, tolerance, fundamental human rights and freedoms as stipulated by the 1992 constitution, eschew all forms of discrimination.
The Ada West District Director of the NCCE, Philemon Boni, highlighted some consequences of violent acts saying; they include threats to the severity of the state and its resultant national insecurity that can bring holistic national development to a halt.
He stated that a research conducted by the NCCE indicated that violent extremist are out to destroy some Countries, with some targeting Ghana through its borders.
Mr. Boni noted that such forums and sensitization programmes will enable the youth to identify the extremists.
He urged them to shun extremism and violent acts which are threats to the sovereignty of the state and its resultant national insecurity.
Commenting on the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491), the Ada East District Police Commander, DSP Andrews Kordzo Mifete, stated that any person who desires to hold any special event within the meaning of this Act in any public place shall notify the police of their intention not less than five days before the date of the special event.
He added that the notification shall be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the organizers of the special event and shall specify the place and hour of the special event, the nature of the special event, the time of commencement, the proposed route and destination, if any and as well as proposed time of closure of the event.
Touching on violence extremism, DSP Mifete noted that extremism and terrorism are regarded as twin security threats facing some neighboring countries today; saying these threats are due to several factors, some of which include tribal conflict, porous borders, weak state institutions, widespread corruption, poverty and mass unemployment, spread of small arms and light weapons.
In his presentation, the Station Officer of the Sege Police Station, Chief Inspector Aquaye, also stated that the emergence and continuous mutations of extremist and terrorist groups are posing existential threats to peace and security.
He reiterated that violent extremism and terrorism is a security and developmental threat.
He recalled Somalia and Nigeria as having been subjected to extremist attacks, as have other countries like Egypt, Libya, Cote D’Ivoire in recent times.
By Paul Mamattah