Ghanaians have been advised to look out for strange and suspicious characters likely to cause violence in the society.
Such characters are to be reported to the appropriate authorities like the Ghana Police Service for investigation, to help fight against violent extremism in our communities.
The Greater Accra Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, Mrs. Lucille Hewlett-Annan who gave the advice at a Town Hall meeting organised by the Ada West District Office of the NCCE in partnership with the Ministry of National Security at Sege in the Greater Accra Region.
The meeting was aimed at fostering national cohesion and inclusive participation in governance at the community level.
It also sought to equip Ghanaians with relevant information on violent extremism and radicalism, and how to identify early warning signals to guard against recruitment of individuals to perpetuate violence.
Participants were drawn from the various churches, mosques, political parties, youth clubs, the Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Bureau of National Investigations, Assembly Members and Traditional rulers in the Ada West District.
Mrs. Hewlett-Annan, in her presentation urged residents in the communities to look out for strange and suspicious characters likely to cause violence in the society.
“Sometimes strange people come into our communities and we accommodate them without finding out where they are coming from and what they plan to do in the community.” she said.
“Be observant and recognize unknown people at your churches and mosques with strange character and report them the Police to take further action”. Mrs. Hewlett-Annan added.
Commenting on the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, she noted that Ghana is a unitary state and the 1992 constitution is the supreme law of the land which enjoins Ghanaians to live in unity and peacefully with one another to achieve national development.
Madam Hewlett-Annan encouraged participants to always practice patriotism and nationalism saying such is an important element in safeguarding our national cohesion and stability.
She noted that to achieve national cohesion, participants have to preserve, protect and defend the lives, interests, territories and possessions of citizens adding that; our national values for justice, equality, inclusion, tolerance, fundamental human rights and freedoms as stipulated in the 1992 constitution, and eschew all forms of discrimination.
The Ada West District Director of the NCCE, Philemon Boni, said activities of violent extremists in neighboring countries threaten the peace and stability of such countries and it is the responsibility of every Ghanaian to be concerned and contribute to preserve the country.
According to him, such engagement is part of community awareness creation activities on identifying early warning signs of extremists’ violence and to address the tensions being created by the activities of violent extremist groups and prevent the likelihood of democratic relapse.
Mr. Boni also commented on the Public Order Act which he stated any person who desires to hold any special event in any public place shall notify the police of his intention not less than five days before the date of the special event.
Inspector Korkuvi Oscar of the Ada West District Police Command also made it clear that the issue of security is not for only the security services, but rather a national concern, therefore individuals must always be security conscious.
He encouraged Ghanaians to report land guard activities to the Police for prompt action. He further stated that people must be vigilant within their communities and be each other’s keepers so that any suspect of threat on their security can be relayed to the security personnel for investigation.
Also touching on the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491), Inspector Korkuvi Oscar added that the notification shall be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the organisers of the special event and shall specify the place and hour of the special event, the nature of the special event, the time of commencement, the proposed route and destination, if any as well as proposed time of closure of the event.
Some participants took turns during the open forum to express their displeasure over possible future land litigations.
Responding to some concerns raised by these participants, Inspector Korkuvi Oscar of the Ada West District Police Command encouraged residents to purchase land from the rightful owners and not hesitate to report activities of land guards yo the Police.
By: Paul Mamattah