The public has been urged to be critical about security matters and report vigilantism attempts and other security threats to the security agencies for immediate response and investigation to protect lives and properties of Ghanaians.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Joseph Quainoo, the Sampa District Police Commander, gave the advice when he spoke at a youth sensitisation forum on “Secessionist Movement, National Cohesion and Inclusive Participation in Governance” on Wednesday at Sampa in the Jaman North District of Bono Region.
The one day forum was part of a nationwide programme being organised and funded by the Ministry of National Security in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
Participants drawn from Sampa and its environs included representatives of youth groups, Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress, religious leaders and heads of security agencies.
According to DSP Quainoo, “vigilantism is illegal, as stipulated in the Vigilantism Act 2019, Act 999 and offenders are liable to not less than 10 years imprisonment without the option of a fine”.
He stressed that “it is a crime and prohibited, whether or not one is directly and indirectly involved in any act of vigilantism, being it promoting or financing”.
DSP Quainoo explained such acts were second degree felonies and minimum punishment for culprits ranges between 10 to 15 years”, adding, “those found in the act with offensive weapons also attract a jail term of 15 years minimum and 25 years maximum.
Major (rtd.) Osei Agyemang, the Bono Regional Security Coordinator, in a presentation, said the project was very crucial based on intelligence gathered because “terrorism is real”.
He said the objective was to educate and empower Ghanaians, particularly those at the boarder districts to stand and collectively ensure national cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
Major (rtd.) Agyemang was optimistic that the project would inculcate in the minds of the public, especially the youth, the negative effects of secessionism and its related violence that retarded speedy national growth and why the youth must not indulge in attempts and influences that resulted in such acts.
He said the sensitisation was being done greatly in areas where suspicion was high and therefore encouraged community participation in detecting issues as basic duty of a citizen.
Major (rtd.) Agyemang implored leadership of churches to make it part of their daily activities to create awareness by sensitising their congregations on security issues and give clear and brief suspicious information to the security agencies immediately for action on them.
Madam Doris Gbongboh, the Bono Regional Director, NCCE, earlier in an interview told the Ghana News Agency similar forum would be held in the Banda District, in addition to radio programmes in mostly communities with mixed ethnic groups between now and the end of 2021.