The Obuasi Municipal Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Sylvester Yaw Asamoah, has cautioned Ghanaians to guard against complacency but team up to nip violence extremism in the bud.
He made these remarks at a day’s workshop organized by the NCCE in Obuasi.
The workshop was part of the implementation of a European Union (EU) sponsored project dubbed, “Preventing Electoral Violence and Providing Security to the Border Regions of Ghana (NORPREVSEC)” aimed at fighting violent extremism and radicalism.
Mr. Asamoah said though Ghana has been widely acclaimed as peaceful, the country cannot rest on its oars but work hard to maintain the existing peace.
He said “we wake up every day to be greeted with news of violence, killings, armed robbery, and various forms of crimes. These are enough warning signs that the country is not immune to violent extremism. To be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
He said the NCCE had identified the youth as the perpetrators of violence, with many of them being recruited to cause havoc as experienced in neighbouring countries that had been attacked by terrorists, and there was the need to equip young people with relevant information on violent extremism to enable them to guard against being recruited for such acts.
Again, he stressed that the presence of heads of institutions, the security and leaders of religious groups at the program lends credence to the fact that the Commission is committed to working with relevant bodies to end violent extremism in the country.
DSP Martin Assenso, the Obuasi Municipal Police Commander, admonished political parties to desist from imposing their beliefs and ideologies on others.
He advised them to be tolerant and accommodate divergent views and opinions.
Speaking on the “National Strategy and the National Framework for Countering Violent Extremism”, DSP Assenso bemoaned the level of recklessness among the youth. He said the youth are being used as conduits by extremist groups to perpetrate all forms of crimes.
He assured of the Police’s commitment to fighting violent extremism in the country.
He said, “the police force is well-prepared to deal with all forms of crime in the country. Send this message to all those involved and those who are lacing their boots that the Police will match them boot for boot”.
Margaret Konama, the Ashanti Regional Director of NCCE in her speech mentioned that terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and IRISH have been operating in the West African subregion for some time now and have attacked countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and it is mostly the youth they recruit to cause these attacks.
She advised that Ghanaians should learn lessons from the mayhem these groups have caused the affected countries and guard against violent extremism.
She also advocated for respect and tolerance of divergent views, adding that, “we live in a country of different ethnic, political, and religious groups. The only way we can develop is to respect each other’s views and opinions. This will end violent extremism and ensure development”.
Communiqué to promote peacebuilding
The leader of Political parties present at the program made commitments to uphold the existing peace and end violent extremism by issuing a joint communiqué.
Representatives of Political parties, Heads of Security agencies, Nananom and the media were all present at the program.