The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy, has called for concerted efforts to prevent political and chieftaincy conflicts, which were the main conduits for terrorist attacks.
“These terrorists are opportunists so they look for signs of discord in society and insert themselves into existing disagreements and deepen them. They use that to launch themselves and cause mayhem,” she said.
She, therefore, called for intensified sensitisation and education, especially in border communities, to avert any incident of terrorism and violent extremism in the country.
She said the increasing incidents of terrorist activities in neighbouring countries required stronger collaboration among stakeholders to stem the tide.
Ms Addy, who made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic last Thursday, stressed the need for conflicts between law enforcement agencies and community members to be addressed since they were also a fertile ground for festering violent extremism.
The interview comes after the NCCE launched a €1.7 million project dubbed Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE) to help prevent violent extremism and terrorism in the country.
The NCCE chairperson said a cordial relationship between law enforcement agencies and members of the community would help to prevent possible infiltration by terrorists.
“The citizens must understand that the police and other law enforcement agencies are there to protect them. The police must also understand that it is important to conduct their activities in a manner that engenders trust of the citizens. The two sides need to know that they can actually work together to achieve peace and safeguard the community,” he said.
Ms Addy added that there needed to be an atmosphere of mutual trust between citizens and law enforcement agencies because “if terrorists come into the community, it is not only one side that suffers.”
The project, which is funded by the European Union (EU), is being implemented in 63 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the five regions of the north, as well as the Oti, Bono and Bono East regions over the next 18 months.
While describing the initiative as a boost to awareness creation on terrorism, Ms Addy said more resources were needed to cover the entire country.
“The grant from the EU has geographical limitations. We are working in the five regions of northern part of the country and three border regions. We have that limitation because that is their area of focus. The government needs to provide resources to ensure that we cover the entire country with this sensitisation project,” she said.