Consider yourselves part of national security architecture-Town hall participants told

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Participants
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Mr George Abizy Baffour, Second-in-Command at the Aflao Division of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has urged members of the society to collaborate with traditional security providers to guarantee the security of all.

He said national security referred to “the totality of factors affecting the survival, the protection, the safety, the well-being and the contentment of the people” requiring partnership between the state and society for success.
Mr Baffour who was speaking at a town hall meeting organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in partnership with the Ministry of National Security on national cohesion and inclusive participation in governance, said the emergence and risk of complex security issues including violent extremism and cross-border crimes should be of great concern to all.

He said individuals and households in poorly policed border communities were at a much higher risks and the most vulnerable to conflict spill overs from neighbouring countries in the sub-region thus, must be watchful of their environment and monitor strangers closely.

The NIB official said despite the border closure directive being enforced currently, lots of people mostly from Niger, Mali and Nigeria (countries witnessing increased acts of crime, insecurity and violent extremism) continued to be aided by commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists to cross into Ghana on daily basis saying, “just over the weekend, 245 of these illegal travellers below the age of 20 years entered into Ghana through this Gakli borderline.”

He bemoaned the threat to Ghana’s peace considering their willingness to pay about four times the usual fare from Aflao to the national capital saying, the motive of these people for trooping into Ghana could be hidden thus, the need for border residents to be good citizens and team with border security officials to keep the illegal travellers away.

“Help us to help you. Terrorists will not come here dressed as one but could appear as beggars. When they come, they will live among you to familiarize themselves with everything they need before they strike.

Don’t wait for us to come and help. Already, there are complaints of no jobs but that will get worse if we continually allow the illegal travellers entry. Be a good citizen and let those helping them know the harm they (locals) are causing the country.”

Mr Victor K. Brobbey, Commission Member, NCCE said looking at the volatile situations in neighbouring countries in the sub-region, “we’ve been somewhat fortunate and cannot take our peace for granted” saying, because “no one is guaranteed peace, we as a country must take peace-building efforts seriously and work towards that.”

Mr Foga Nukunu, a participant, said the lawlessness by border residents in respect to aiding illegal travellers into the country could in part be blamed on the border security officials and called for investigations into the matter to avoid unforeseen situations in future.

“It can also be blamed on hunger because when there’s hunger, we don’t think properly. That’s why someone will help people with “Boko Haram” tendencies to get into the country. Border communities are virtually locked down and the residents whose livelihoods depend on crossing the border daily are hungry due to the closure. Something must be done about it.”

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