Madam Lucille Hewlett Annan, Greater Accra Regional Director, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has urged parents to actively promote Ghana’s security by protecting children against secessionism and violent extreme behaviours.
She said even though the State was doing its bit to ensure that citizens lived up to expectation, parents had a greater task of grooming their children into responsible and patriotic adults.
Madam Annan gave the advice during a Youth Activist Workshop on secessionism and violent extremism, organised by NCCE with support from Ministry of National Security.
The workshop aimed at educating citizens on the dangers of terrorism, secessionism, and radicalism to the nation.
She said the programme formed part of NCCE’s ongoing nationwide education on peaceful coexistence and national unity.
Touching on recent secessionist attempts by some citizens, she noted that Ghana was a unitary State, as such, it was against the 1992 Constitution for anyone to make attempts to break away.
Madam Annan advised citizens to peacefully co-exist with everyone irrespective of religious and ethnic differences.
She said citizens should not drag any form of dispute to court for settlement but rather, make use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle minor quarrels.
Madam Annan said ADR provided settlement of disputes at a cheaper cost and was less time consuming.
However, she cautioned that crimes such as rape, robbery, murder, amongst others should not be settled through ADR but should strictly be dealt with in Court.
The Director urged participants to be quick to report any suspicious happening or character trait within their neighborhoods.
This, she said, would help security agencies to easily and effectively clamp down evil doers and make the society a safe haven.
“When you sit in public transport, Church, Mosque or in any public gathering, take note of those in your immediate environment, their dress colour and every other detail so that when you notice anything fishy, you can quickly make a report.”
“Religious bodies should also do background checks on new members with affluent status before entrusting them with delicate responsibilities. Some of these people may be spies or even part of deadly groups sent to gather important information on your activities,” she said.
She said anyone involved (through membership, sponsorship or even sympathizer) in vigilantism, “landgaurdism” or any related activity could spend between 10 to 15 years in prison.
The Director cautioned Ghanaians not to take the nation’s peace for granted but to protect and value it because the nation can only experience all round growth when there was peace.
She urged institutions, corporate and religious bodies to involve the NCCE in their programmes and provide education on various topics that can improve the knowledge base of citizens.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) David Joachim Quanson, Crime Officer of Mamprobi Police District, advised participants to remain law-abiding and particularly, shun bad company.
He said the use of narcotic substances for personal pleasure was prohibited, as such, citizens should desist from that habit or face the full rigors of the Law.
The Crime Officer said the general public should regard security and law enforcing agencies as friends and families, as such, they should make every effort to approach them if they noticed any strange happenings in society.
He urged participants to report any security officer who misconducted him or herself for the appropriate sanctions to be meted out against such officers.
ASP Quanson said it was unlawful for any group or individuals to organise outdoor activities such as political rallies, demonstrations, walks, amongst others without prior notice to the Police.
He said the Police had to be notified five days to the event in order for proper discussions with leaders of the said event on the provision of security at the scheduled time or not.
The Crime Officer said involving the Police in such events gave them the responsibility of ensuring the safety of participants and properties.
ASP Quanson assured participants of protection and anonymity of they became Police informants.