Mr Adib Saani, Security Analyst and Executive Director, Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, says the recent shooting incident in Nigeria is a wakeup call to Ghana to enhance its security apparatus.
He said Government and the relevant stakeholders must put in place protocols at places of worship – churches and mosques and any other place that housed many people at any given point in time.
A church in southwestern Nigeria, on Sunday became the site of a bloody attack when terrorists stormed the church in the city of Owo in Ondo State, riding motorcycles and shooting sporadically.
At least 28 people were killed, according to reports.
A Police spokesperson said the State police could not confirm the total number of casualties at St. Francis Catholic
Church, nor could they identify those behind the attack.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, Mr Saani said an attack on a church was not a new thing because terrorists had always had the tendency to go after soft targets, including churches.
“That is why I welcomed the letter from the National Security talking about the need for churches to improve their security,” he added.
He encouraged the installation of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at places of worship and the use of private security personnel, so that anyone who entered those venues would be checked using a metal detector.
Even though this was not the ultimate, the Security Analyst said it would add a layer of security to whatever Government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were already doing.
Mr Saani advised the Government to collaborate with CSOs to educate the public on what to look out for and what to do to remain security conscious.
He said they should move beyond the use of infographics on social media and go to the grassroots, especially towards the Northern frontiers to work with CSOs who were already based there.
Mr Saani explained that the attack in Ondo State, which hitherto had remained untouched by terrorists in Nigeria, was only indicative of the resolve of the groups to expand southwards.
He said in recent times, the continent had witnessed attacks in countries that had not been attacked before by terrorists in the African Sub-region.
That, he said signified a conscious attempt by the terrorists to expand from the Sahel or Northern part of the sub-continent towards the coastal areas.
“Ondo state is about 365 kilometres from the commercial capital of Lagos so that is obviously worrying. I understand that there was a package in the church that was left unattended to and exploded before the gun men opened fire so with education, persons at places of worship should be able to read between the lines and identify the red flags so that immediate action is taken,” he noted.
Mr Saani said over the years, Ghana had not experienced terrorist attacks because largely, the nation served as a supply route and a transit point for terrorists.
He said unfortunately, it appeared some terrorists were already in town and had established sleeper cells, waiting for the opportune time to attack.