Taking the prevailing peace for granted could be disastrous – Dr Ken Ahorsu

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Ho Social Countering Terrorism
Ho Social Countering Terrorism

Dr Ken Ahorsu, Senior Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIA), University of Ghana, has warned against taking the prevailing peace in the country for granted as that could be disastrous.

He underscored the need to address underlying conditions such as bad governance, corruption, disrespect of civil liberties, ineffective rule of law, marginalisation and weak security institutions which could breed extremism and consequently, terrorism.

Dr Ahorsu who spoke to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a two-day public dialogue to sensitise border communities on preventing violent extremism and terrorism said addressing such issues to maintain the peace, was critical in averting increased acts of crime, insecurity and violent extremism ongoing in the sub-region.

“We’re living in a dangerous time. All over the world, things are not going as they should be going. Besides, Nigeria has been experiencing some form of terrorism and they don’t seem to find an end to it. The same applies to Somalia. The same is applying to Burkina Faso and Mali.

Using military means to fight terrorism is not the way forward. This is because terrorism normally feeds on grievances people have and we’ve also noticed that the kind of people who are easily recruited are those without jobs and regular incomes. So, it’s more prudent to understand people and their grievances and treat this violent extremism from a more holistic perspective.”

He called on residents (transport particularly) in border communities especially Aflao which is considered a vulnerable community because it has the sea and is home to Ghana’s busiest border, to be cautious in their dealings with people travelling into their midst and not place money ahead of their safety.

He said people’s willingness to put the nation’s interest before theirs, largely depended on leadership and hoped governments would play their parts to guarantee the safety of the country saying, “it is only when a child sees that the father is honest and truly loves her/him that s/he is obedient.”

The programme organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) with funding support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) took participants drawn from civil society, youth, women, men and persons living with disability groups through presentations aimed at building their resilience towards preventing violent extremism and terrorism.

Deputy Director, NPC, Mr Frank Bodza stressed on the need for border residents to be vigilant saying, “this threat of terrorism is not far from us.”

Ms Yvonne Kumi, a participant, was grateful for the programme and believed she had enough information needed to visit schools and speak on the subject for an informed community to counter the threat.

The public dialogue at Aflao, Ketu South was the first in series of similar ones to be held in other border communities including Sampa, Bono Region, Elubo, Western Region and Bawku, Upper East Region with plans to extend the sensitisation to student leadership of tertiary institutions later in the year.

 

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