Stop Scaring Ghanaians When There Is No Credible Evidence Of An Imminent Terrorist Attack

The "terrorists are coming" so screamed the famously inept Ghanaian media; and unfortunately this largely discounted and debunked bit of information, was echoed relentlessly on various media platforms by a gaggle of politicians, security experts and pundits.

All this chatter about an imminent attack on our homeland by terrorists, is mischievous, misleading and deeply worrying because it conjures an image of a band of bad ass jihadists establishing a beachhead in Ghana with sleeper cells spread across the country, waiting for a signal from a faceless leader sitting in a cave somewhere in the remote mountainous recesses of Afghanistan, or in the vast desert dunes of Iraq or Syria, to unleash mass casualty attacks on Ghanaians.

Ghanaians were understandably jittery --- despite reassurances from government officials and the Canadian and British embassies that the whole thing was nothing more than a tempest in a teacup.

It should be pointed out that the two embassies had issued travel advisories to their citizens two years ago but somehow, and incredibly media organizations in the country failed miserably to note that.

They subsequently ran away with what they foolishly thought was a breaking news story without as much as doing the hard work required --- calling the sources to verify and confirm the story, and checking with the Ghanaian government and its security agencies.

But seriously, why would terrorists even think of attacking Ghana? This is a question that has not been explored fully by those alarmists, the publicity seeking politicians and those enterprising so called security experts.

Those who are crying wolf, have never advanced any convincing argument as to why terrorists would target Ghana, except to trot out the tired old rationale that Nigeria, at least the northeastern part of it, is embroiled in terrorism, and our close neighbors, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso have been attacked by jihadists.

Let me state emphatically that Ghana isn't just attractive to jihadists for a number of reasons: jihadists always find their recruits in Muslim communities, especially among disaffected young, unemployed and marginalized Muslim men.

In Ghana, however, you will be hard-pressed to encounter angry young Muslim men determined to take out their pent up frustrations on the larger society.

Radicalism is a foreign concept to them; they will rather deal with their problems stoically than cause mayhem and chaos.

And, let me make this point abundantly clear: there aren't fiery Muslim Imams preaching fire and brimstone while simultaneously brainwashing impressionable young men.

Our Muslim communities, to say their credit, have been steadfast and impervious to jihadists and don't easily fit the stereotypical image of an angry, radicalized group of fanatics.

No, they are not outliers, they are an integral part of our body politic.

Another factor that renders Ghana wholly unattractive to jihadists is the fact that our governments do not pursue policies that Islamic extremists find offensive and anathema to their religion. Muslims in Ghana are free to worship as they deem fit; in fact, religious tolerance has been a cornerstone of official policy for decades.

Yes, of course, Ghana, like other members of the international community takes its international obligations seriously. And to that end, it has endorsed the fight against terrorism, but that is all; its participation has been anything but muted.

Jihadists have always railed  against the stifling environment or societies they find themselves in, where many democratic norms --- free speech, freedom of the press and free election --- are blatantly denied and suppressed.

The opposite is true in Ghana. Our democracy has grown exponentially in the last twenty plus years, and Ghanaians have freely chosen their political representatives in freely conducted elections.

And the last time anyone checked, Ghana does not host foreign troops on its soil.

Nonetheless, it will be foolhardy to downplay the threat terrorism poses to society; it is a scourge that instills fear in victims and invariably paralyzes societies, rich or poor.

And, if recent history is any guide, from the dusty streets of Kandahar and Baghdad to the gleaming tree-lined boulevards of cities in the western world, jihadists have inflicted unimaginable horror on innocent people.

Confronted with this modern day realism, governments around the world are constantly devising ways and measures within the limits of their authority to protect their citizens.

Our government is no different, and though it has been pilloried for not outwardly demonstrating what, if any plans, it has put in place to counter terrorism, it would be naive to assume that our security agencies are asleep at the switch.

For the sake of our own sanity, those who don't hesitate to take to the airwaves to harp on terrorism, should examine their conscience thoroughly before they start spouting nonsense without any credible evidence.

All this silly and idle talk does, is frighten Ghanaians out of their wits end, and depict our government as hopelessly unprepared.





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