Dr Kaderi Noagah Bukari, Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has identified massive youth unemployment in the country as a bait for extremist incursions in Ghana.
He said the re-emergence of coup d’états in the sub-region put Ghana at a higher risk of violent extremism, noting that, “the rate of unemployment in the country was ‘alarming’ in the wake of recent terrorist threats.”
“Ghana needs to address youth unemployment issues that is exacerbated by harsh socio-economic conditions and have become a ‘ticking time bomb’,” Dr. Bukari observed in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
He said the commitment to maintain national peace should not be limited to only the security agencies but a collective national responsibility by all well-meaning citizens to ensure peace, tranquillity and harmony prevailed at all times.
Dr Bukari described as ‘erroneous’ the notion that the country was immune to violent extremism due to the appreciable level of peace among citizens and decades of democratic gains.
The recent youth uprising in parts of West Africa, he said, were indicative of how frustrated unemployed youth could unleash mayhem in otherwise stable countries to retard development efforts.
Accordingly, he reiterated the urgent need for Ghana to take a cue from recent political uproar in the sub-region and address critical factors that could trigger violent extremist activities in the country.
Key among such factors prevalent in Ghana are; pervasive corruption, protracted chieftaincy feuds particularly in Bawku, heightened political tensions and clashes between citizens and the police.
“Terrorists always look for already volatile situations to exploit it,” he noted.
Giving some solutions to the unemployment challenge, Dr Bukari called for a strong and responsive institutional system, particularly at the local level, to address the socio-economic challenge and inequalities to help nip the possible emergence of activities of extremists in the bud.
He reminded Ghanaians of the need for them to support the national campaign on “if you see something, say something” as part of efforts to help deal with the terrorism threats in the West African sub-region.
This means any person who noticed anything unusual on security, should inform the various agencies by dialing 999 (toll free) or using any of the security agencies phone numbers or social media handles.
For those who do not want to be identified for fear of being labelled as snitchers, complaints could be lodged anonymously.
On job creation, Dr Bukari urged the Government to formulate a well-defined national policy on
job creation that could effectively tackle the problem and also channel resources to assist students to acquire technical and vocational skills to enable them become self-reliant.
The Government must also offer tax reliefs and other incentives to encourage more indigenous private sector players to train young people to equip them with the skills needed to accelerate the country’s industrialization agenda to create jobs.
For the youth, particularly students, Dr Bukari encouraged them not to look down on vocational and technical education, since it had the potential to help them to become self-employed after school.
He urged parents to encourage their children to take advantage of skills training in many institutions in the country.