Ghana’s National Security Ministry has assured citizens that the country is safe in spite of the closeness of terrorist groups in the sub-region.
The regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWA) and the African Union (AU) with support from the UN forces have been battling terrorist groups such as ISGS, JNIM, Boko Haram among others who have been unleashing violence on innocent citizens for some time now.
The terrorist groups, the ministry said, have so far succeeded in killing civilians and security personnel and are creating a lot of fear and panic among many nationals.
The ministry is therefore urging citizens to be more security conscious than before because the terrorist have vowed to unleash violence on innocent citizens.
While assuring the people of intense efforts by government at protecting the country against any forms of external aggression, the ministry said, the terrorism wind was blowing across the globe and everyone must be worried about it.
Ghana, it added, has an option to either sit unconcern for the worst things to happen before it starts to protect its citizens or put in place preventive measures to preempt and to prevent.
The government under President Nana Akuffo Addo, the National Security Ministry said, has decided to be proactive to protect national installations and the citizens.
The government of Ghana it said, was focusing on radicalization and religious extremism because it is the conduit for terrorism.
Terrorist activities, the ministry noted, seemed to be far away from Ghana in the past but has become closer because of the happenings in the neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Algeria and Nigeria with terrible attacks on military headquarters, churches and mosques.
The ministry reminded people in the north that terrorists use local support and logistics to advance their idea and can dole out huge sums of money to influence people to accept their ideology.
At a day’s a forum for Imams, pastors opinion and traditional leaders in Tamale to counter violent extremism, a team from the ministry reminded Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCES), who chair security committees at their respective jurisdictions that their role was critical in the emerging trends and tactics of terrorists.
The MMDCEs, the team said, need to pay attention to the needs of the locals before they are influenced by gifts.
They pleaded with opinion and community leaders to provide information about suspicious persons to security agencies to act timely.
Terrorists don’t necessarily attack but they also used peaceful atmosphere and like to relax and launch attacks at their target countries, the team stated.
The modus operandi of the terrorist according to National Security hinged on major challenges facing individuals and communities.
The team said, terrorists would then monitor and continue their support while justifying the ideology and how the vulnerable are being cheated by the elite or the political class.
Chieftaincy,violence and disgruntled political party vigilantes were another breeding grounds for terrorist groups.
The ministry advised citizens to be extremely vigilant at public places because terrorist groups target everyone and everyone must be security conscious, especially with suspicious characters.
Top security heads at the forum entreated Ghanaians to be sensitive to their surroundings and activities in their neighborhoods. They also advised religious bodies such mosques and churches to endeavor to procure close Circuit TV (CCTVs) cameras for their places of worship.
They also reminded citizens that it is an offense under Ghana terrorist Act for anybody to provide assistance or collect property belonging to terrorists. What is more, providing financial service to groups affiliated with terrorists is also a crime.
Various speakers at the forum called on the state to close the big gap between community members, chiefs and the state authority.
The major challenge in the fight the team observed, was common definition of terrorism. This is because there is no globally accepted definition of their act and countries have different definitions based on governance systems.
Every country according to the team said has operational definition that best suits their political system.