Preserving National Security Through Awareness - Second NORPREVSEC Dialogue

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has organized a national discourse on ‘Peace and Social Cohesion in the Context of Violent Extremism’. Discussions at the event sought to create awareness on early signals of violent extremism and measures to counter radicalization among the youth. The event, the second in a series of dialogues for the NCCE/EU NORPREVSEC project will engage citizens on security and violent extremism.

Chairperson of NCCE, Ms. Josephine Nkrumah at the opening ceremony underscored the importance of trust in security agencies in the campaign against violent extremism. She said this will ensure that citizens confidently communicate any suspicious characters for swift action, since citizens play a significant role as whistle blowers in relaying relevant information to security agencies.

Discussants at the dialogue addressed issues on global peace, national security and national cohesion. In recent times, there has been increasing reports and news of extremist activities such as kidnappings, ritual murders, bombs or gun attacks, vigilantism and secessionism. The West African sub-region and by large, the entire African continent has become notable for these criminalities due to its ill-equipped security forces, porous borders, youth unemployment, lack of nationalism or patriotism and poor leadership.

A Senior Researcher of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Mr. Mustapha Abdullah revealed that the borders of Ghana lack proper governance structures and attention, making such locations hotbeds for violent extremists to spread their ideologies and recruit members. According to him, such areas are usually under the control of traditional rulers hence making it easy for violent extremists to proliferate without detection.

Ms. Janet Adama Mohammed of the West Africa Programme Director at Conciliation Resources, United Kingdom said lack of integration of the youth in societal and economic discussions have left many of them feeling lonely, jobless and vulnerable hence making them easily radicalized and recruited into activities of violent extremists who promise them hope, money and inclusion.

She cautioned the public to be alert during the festive seasons and asked that traditional authorities liaise with security agencies to keep them abreast with strange happenings within their communities and jurisdictions. She further advised individuals and households to practice safety measures to help defend themselves when there are attacks as well as lookout for sensitive and vital security information on traditional and social media platforms.

Director of the Counter Terrorism Fusion Unit of the Ministry of Security, Colonel Tim Bataabanah, tasked Ghanaians to rid themselves of the false notion that violent extremists were not homegrown. He urged citizens to be vigilant during the festive season and report any suspicious change in the ideals of people around them. He entreated citizens to help fight violence extremism saying government does not have adequate oversight over all corners and parts of the country.

Deputy Chairperson, Finance and Administration at the NCCE, Ms. Kathleen Addy in a closing remarks called on all relevant stakeholders to support the NCCE sensitise citizens to desist from such practices and nib in the bud the rising concern before it escalates.

The event was organized with support from the European Union. In attendance were students, traditional authorities, security services, media and all relevant stakeholders who play key roles in the fight against violent extremism.


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