Don’t be complacent in security management, British Envoy tells West African countries

BY: Salomey Appiah-Adjei
Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

The British High Commissioner in Accra, Mr Iain Walker, has advised the security agencies in Ghana and other West African countries not to be complacent in the management of the security of their states.

He said that had become necessary in view of the rampant terrorists attacks and activities of extremist groups across the world.

Mr Walker, who gave the advice at the opening of a two-week course on: “Managing defence in the wider security context”, in Accra yesterday, said how defence was managed and how nations designed their strategies and policies were critical in setting the appropriate framework to respond to the present realities.

The training programme, organised by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), is sponsored by the United Kingdom (UK) and supported by the United Kingdom Defence Academy and Cranfield University in the UK.

It has brought together 29 security people from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo to update their knowledge, share best practices and stimulate debate on the management of defence and security.

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PICTURE: Air Vice-Marshall Griffiths Evans (left), Commandant, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in an interaction with Mr Iain Walker (middle), the British High Commissioner in Accra. Also in the picture are Col Albert Dawohoso (right), Director of Training, KAIPTC and the other participants. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

Security threats

Mr Walker indicated that severe security challenges in West Africa included transnational serious organised crimes, land disputes, chieftaincy disputes and conflicts, while terrorism was a real threat in the sub-region, adding that Boko Haram in Nigeria and its neighbours, Al-Shabab in Somalia and other extremist groups all threatened security and challenged the international system.

“All these are destabilising influences that prevent the development of societies that promote education, prosperity, opportunity and the well-being for our people,” he stated.

The High Commissioner further observed that weapons proliferation, advance in cyber warfare threats, the activities of non-state actors advancing oppressive ideologies, rogue states and the undermining of the traditional military threatened peace and stability.

“There is no room for complacency and there can be no let up in the continuous strive for excellence at every level throughout government and in the defence and security sectors,” he noted.

Promoting security

The training, Mr Walker said, therefore, formed part of the initiative by the UK government to promote prosperity and security in Africa through support from its partners.

He urged the participants to use the opportunity to think strategically about how the defence and the security sectors functioned and how they could become better.

“It is through collective dialogue and the collaborative management of issues that we are strengthened. Cross-border threats need cross-border solutions – and we are supported by common values – it will be in this manner that we will succeed in addressing the security and defence challenges that we all face,” he said.

Air Vice-Marshall Evans

In an address, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, Air Vice-Marshall Griffiths Santrofi Evans, said the efficient and effective governance and management of the defence and the security sectors was essential to deepen democracy.

Although Ghana had been generally perceived as a stable and peaceful nation in the sub-region, he said, beneath that veneer of peace was the fundamental issue of the role of the security and the defence sectors in ensuring the continuity of the process.

Air Vice-Marshall Evans expressed the hope that the training programme would provide participants with the platform to identify the appropriate policies, principles and techniques to advance the development of the defence and the security sectors in Africa.

PICTURE: Air Vice-Marshall Griffiths Evans (left), Commandant, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)