The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has held a sensitization forum with tertiary education students in Damongo in the West Gonja Municipal of Savannah Region on violent extremism and youth radicalism.
The forum which took place at the premises of the Damongo Nurses' Training College aimed at equipping the students with the necessary skills to fight transnational organized crime, whilst promoting respect for human rights and rule of law.
In a short address, the Ag. Savannah Regional NCCE Director, Issaka Zitor disclosed that the NCCE was implementing such symposia with tertiary institutions across the five regions in Northern Ghana as part of its planned activities under the preventing electoral violence and providing security to the Northern border regions project.
He said the symposium seeks to equip participants with the relevant information on violent extremism and youth radicalism in order to guard them against being recruited as stooges for perpetuating violence in the region and beyond.
According to him, stakeholders are duty-bound to dialogue on ways of addressing the tensions being created by activities of violent extremists or terrorist groups in the Sahel region and make effort to prevent likely spill over to Ghana.
He added that, by adopting the 1992 Constitution, the people of Ghana have subscribed to the tenets and practice of democratic governance.
He pointed out that, all citizens of Ghana have the power to exercise political control through their involvement in the governance processes, especially where there is democracy.
He admonished the students to be ambassadors of change and counter terrorism in their conduct and utterances, stressing that, "words are like bullets, and your mouth is like a gun. When you shoot a gun, the bullet is going to come out, is there any way for you to take that bullet back? No."
The Deputy Chairman for the NCCE in charge of operations, Samuel Asare Akuamoah on his side said the potential risk faced by Ghana in the midst of recent incidents of political instability in neighbouring border countries should be a cause of worry to all concerned citizens since it was a major threat to the country’s peace and security.
According to him, the current security situation in Ghana’s neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and others assumes a worrying trend and beckons on all citizens to prevent the disruption of the country's democracy.
He indicated that the event forms part of a national campaign against violent extremism which is being carried out by the NCCE, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security with funding from the European Union (EU).
The Savannah Regional National Security Coordinator, Bismark Seidu cautioned the youth not to allow themselves to be used to perpetrate crimes by jihadist movement groups and violent extremist groups.
He further urged Ghanaians to be security-conscious at all times and to notify security agencies of any suspicious individuals living among them.
He added that, violent extremist activities such as radicalism, terrorism etcetera, poses a lot of threats to the lives of the ordinary people and on our way of life and that, it was the responsibility of the Ghanaian government to put measures in place to preserve the safety and security of the citizenry by implementing a national frame work on preventing violent extremism and terrorism in the country and in the Sahel regions.
According to him, the Ministry of National Security was a national institution that works for the nation and society.
He admonished the students to stay vigilant on strange happenings around them and also urged them to form groups to create jobs for themselves and not to be used for violent extremists activities.