Collaborate to prevent terrorism "NCCE to state, non-state actors"
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy, has called for stronger collaboration between state and non-state actors to address the triggers of violent extremism and terrorism in the country.
She said in the wake of growing terrorist attacks in the Sahel Region and neighbouring countries, it was important for all stakeholders to work closely to deal with in-country situations that could fuel terrorism.
Ms Addy stressed that illegal mining, political tensions, chieftaincy conflicts, perceived marginalisation, unemployment and religious sentiments, as well as tribalism, were tendencies that exposed the county to terrorist attack, for which reason all actors must work together to nip them in the bud.
"In particular, I want to appeal to the media to play an active role in educating and sensitising Ghanaians to the threats of terrorism and its impact on the country.
The media is a powerful tool that can be used in a positive way to help prevent violent extremism in this country and I call on journalists to be circumspect in how they report on this issue," she added.
Ms Addy was speaking at a capacity-building workshop on Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE) organised by the NCCE for journalists in Tamale in the Northern Region on Wednesday (April 26).
The workshop drew participants from eight regions, including Northern, North-East, Savannah, Upper West, Upper East, Oti, Bono and Bono East.
The workshop was meant to equip journalists with relevant information on terrorism and its impact so that they would use their media platforms to educate and sensitise members to the public.
It was also meant to court the support of the media to help the NCCE implement the PCVE project that had been rolled out in the northern part of Ghana.
The PCVE is an 18-month European Union (EU) funded project, which started on November 26, 2022, to prevent and contain violent extremism through the promotion of social cohesion, peace and tolerance in the five regions in northern Ghana and other hotspots in the country.
The project also seeks to strengthen state actors, security agencies, the media and other non-state actors at the national and community levels in the fight against violent extremism and to prevent individuals identified as being at risk from joining violent or criminal groups.
A Principal Analyst at the National Counter Terrorism and Fusion Centre of the Ministry of National Security, Dr Baba Sayuti, described the initiative by the NCCE to rally stakeholders to help prevent violent extremism in the country as a boost to the fight against terrorism.
Again, he observed that there was a link between organised crime and terrorism, same way illegal mining and terrorism financing also had a connection "because terrorists can do illegal mining to get more money to buy ammunition, recruit people, bribe officials and work their way through".
He stressed that the situation was even more dire, especially when many foreigners were engaged in illegal mining in Ghana.
"The National Security is not sleeping.
We are working every day to stem the tides and make sure we keep an eye on that area to prevent the penetration of terrorists," he said.
Dr Sayuti stressed that all stakeholders should turn their attention towards addressing the root causes of terrorist activities rather than waiting to respond after it had occurred.
He observed that since poverty and marginalisation were key triggers of terrorism, there must be deliberate policies by the government to create employment opportunities for people in the areas that were deprived.
"Heading to the political season, we need to tread cautiously because inflamed political passions can be a fertile ground for terrorists to penetrate," he said.
While commending the NCCE for collaborating with the media to disseminate information on preventing terrorism, he stressed that the media played a leading role in promoting peace in the country.
He urged the media to prevent politicians from using their platforms to inflame passions or fuel conflict.