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Our roles as today’s youth in preventing terrorism

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terrorism
Terrorism

Introduction

Terrorism is a major global security threat. Today, billions of dollars are spent worldwide to bring it under control as every day people die from terror-related activities. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies.”

A 2023 Global Terrorism Index report by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) identifies the Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa as now the epicenter of terrorism.

The report discloses that the Sahel accounted for more terrorism deaths in 2022 than both South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) combined.
The report adds, “Of particular concern are two countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, which accounted for 73 percent of terrorism deaths in the Sahel in 2022 and 52 per cent of all deaths from terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa”, This data is truly disturbing to our continent especially the youth of this country. Ghana shares its northern border with Burkina Faso, a country that has over the years seen an increase in terrorist attacks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this year said “No age, no culture, no religion, no nationality, and no region is immune but the situation in Africa is especially concerning “.

Based on the above situation, I write this article to highlight the crucial roles today’s youth including myself can play in helping to prevent terrorism in Ghana.

Social Media activism and engagements
The Ministry of National Security in tandem with other security agencies launched in 2022 a national campaign, dubbed: “See something, say something”, which seeks to encourage the public to be vigilant of the activities of suspicious characters and report such activities and characters to the security agencies. As today’s youth, social media is our home, playground, and a source of information and awareness creation tool. We can use our various social media handles to amplify “See something, say something” by using #hashtags every time we get, organize online engagements with our peers, and security agencies to discuss terrorism and its catastrophic effects, report suspicious activities, and remind the public digitally about this agenda aimed at keeping the country safe.

Advocacy, Volunteerism, and Community Participation

Unemployment is an opportunity for terrorist organizations to exploit the youth. We can therefore respectfully speak up against initiatives and policies that may not be yielding enough opportunities for us. We can volunteer to assist Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with our time and skills in researching and educating citizens on security-related issues. Engaging in community activities and events can be an avenue for us to have our voices heard.

Rejecting Radicalization

We must say a big NO to radicalization and extremist ideologies as it is one of the most effective means by terrorists and their organizations to recruit young persons for their heinous activities. Their messages seek to create an environment of hatred and bigotry towards people of different beliefs, and cultures. We must oppose these toxic messages whenever we hear them and develop a culture that promotes love, peace, and tolerance. This would keep us united against terrorism
Getting Educated and Informed
Knowledge, they say is power and so for us to be empowered, we must do our best to be knowledgeable. We must try and read books, listen to authentic news, heed advice from our elders in our societies, engage in healthy debates with our peers, and use our creativity in music or other arts to gain an understanding of security-related issues. Doing this would help us to gather reliable information and make us not consume and spread misinformation to others.

Conclusion

Many people are of the view that preventing terrorism is the job or sole responsibility of the government and our security agencies but the truth is our dear nation belongs to us all and so, we the youth have vital roles to play in keeping Ghana, our beautiful regions, and communities safe. We must therefore be proactive and do our best to keep our nation safe.

May God Bless our homeland Ghana and make her Great and Strong.

By Lawson Kwame Lugu

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