Mr Robert Boame, the Oti Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has called on political actors, religious and traditional leaders as well as the youth in the region to let peace reign in their various communities and areas.
He noted chieftaincy, land disputes and political issues were likely to trigger violent extremism activities hence the need for actors in such issues to exercise restraint in handling them.
Mr Boame speaking during a stakeholder’s forum at Dambai on the roles of citizens in ensuring a peaceful and violent free Municipality noted that the NCCE recently conducted research in the five Northern Regions, Oti, Bono East, and Bono to assess the knowledge of the people about violent extremism.
He said the outcome revealed that just a few people were aware, and the youth and women were most at risk of violent extremism while the Oti Region was the most tolerant region among the researched regions.
Mr Boame advised the youth to stay away from anything that would not foster peace and unity in their communities.
He also admonished landlords and landladies to conduct a background check on tenants they rented their apartments to.
The forum was organised by the NCCE Krachi East Municipal office with support from the Krachi East Municipal Assembly.
Mr Issahaku Yakubu, Krachi East Municipal Coordinating Director, said education was key in preventing violent extremism and expressed concerns about how parents leave their youth to stay late in the night associating with different kind of groups that were likely to fuel violent acts.
He urged the leaders to help address the issues of Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the Municipality and pledged the Assembly’s support in making the Municipality a peaceful place for all citizens and investors.
Pastor Michael Osei-Frimpong, Head Pastor, Dambai Central Church of Pentecost encouraged the participants to accept the beliefs and practices of all religion in the Municipality since was the only way peace could be assured at all times.
He said the effects of war and misunderstanding undermined development hence the need to practice peace and not only to speak peace.
Mr Samuel Opoku of the Ghana Commercial Bank Plc Dambai branch also encouraged participants to take advantage of their numerous banking products and develop the habit of savings for the future of their children’s now.
Mr Clement Kwesi Mamadu, Krachi East Municipal Director of NCCE said although women seemed peaceful, they sometimes became baits for violent extremism and asked them to be careful of their utterances likely to push their children to join violent extremist groups for monetary gains.
He urged drivers to check their passengers well before they boarded their cars for safety purposes adding that kidnapping, suicide bombings and pirating were some of the modes of operation of extremist groups.
Mr Mamadu advised that people must be extra vigilant in places where large numbers of people gathered such as funerals, lorry stations, shops, festivals, and schools.
He noted that people must also take notice of strangers and people with queer character who may be roaming around in their area or community and monitor their activities or movements and report to the security agencies if need be.
Mr Mamadu said “If you see something, say something’ and always remember the toll-free emergency numbers for assistance and prompt action. 999, 191 and 18555.”
A total of 170 stakeholders drawn from various groups and unions in the Municipality participated in the forum.