RAINS begins campaign against violent extremism

Social Violent Engagement
Social Violent Engagement

Engagement sessions have been held for various stakeholders in the Nanumba South and Kpandai Districts of the Northern Region as part of efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and reduce the threats of violent extremism in the country.
The meeting formed part of activities to introduce participants to the Building Resilience and Inclusive Dialogue against Extremism (BRIDGE) project, which is funded by the European Union under the Preventing Electoral Violence and Providing Security to the Northern Border Regions of Ghana (NORPREVSEC) Programme implemented by COGINTA GHANA.
The overall goal of the BRIDGE project is to increase the participation of citizens in promoting peaceful coexistence and reducing the threats of violent extremist organisations through enhanced civic engagement.
The engagement sessions in the two districts were organised by the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS), a non-governmental organisation based in Tamale.
Mr Hardi Tijani, Executive Director of RAINS, whose speech was read on his behalf during the sessions in the two districts, said, “As an organisation with the development of northern Ghana at heart, RAINS considers the activities of extremist groups in Ghana as a threat to its vision for especially northern Ghana hence joining the campaign to raise awareness and build local capacity to prevent extremism.”
Mr Tijani quoted the UNODC report of 2015, which highlighted the primary drivers of violent extremism, saying the country and for that matter, northern Ghana was home to all the primary drivers identified by the report, which included lack of socio-economic opportunities, marginalisation and discrimination, poor governance and violations of human rights and the rule of law, prolonged and unresolved conflicts and radicalisation in prisons.
He emphasised that extremist groups were tactical in their operations and would always exploit conditions in target countries to cause mayhem noting that in the northern part of the country, there were fertile grounds extremist groups could capitalise on to expand their attacks from neighbouring countries into the country.
He bemoaned the high levels of poverty, youth unemployment and underemployment, the rise in drugs and substance abuse by the youth, intra-religious tensions, increasing reports of corruption and other forms of bad governance, porous nature of borders and weak immigration systems as those factors that could attract extremists.
He said the activities of extremist groups such as Al-Shabab, Islamic States, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, Boko Haram in West Africa were fast expanding with all of the country’s immediate neighbours, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Togo suffering attacks between 2016 and 2021.
Mr Tijani said the situations in the neighbouring countries were a wakeup call for proactive measures to deal with local issues that could serve as catalysts for extremist activities.
He said, “Therefore, RAINS was seeking to set the agenda for public awareness creation on these threats and also contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for the transformation of the many conflicts in the districts.”
He implored all stakeholders to work together to eliminate all factors that could serve as conveyor belts to the emergence of extremist activities.
During the sessions, representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education, and the Ghana Police Service took turns making presentations intended to create awareness of extremism and terrorism.
Participants were taken through the specific roles of individuals, faith-based organisations, community/traditional authority, educational institutions and security agencies in arresting the threat of violent extremism in their communities.

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