Accra, May 11, GNA- Mr Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister for The Interior on Tuesday called for closer collaboration between the government and civil society organizations to combat the threat of terrorism and intensify sensitisation programmes to enlightened gullible members of society on the dangers of terrorism.
He noted with concern the exploitation of the weaknesses of national, regional and international law-enforcement agencies in controlling the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the West Africa sub-region.
Mr Broni stated this at seminar on "The Challenges of Trans-national Organised Crime to National Security In Ghana," organized by the African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR) for personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in Accra.
The two-day seminar aimed at equipping the Immigration Officers information on trans-national organized crime, national security and ECOWAS' preparedness to respond to security challenges, drug trafficking, small arms proliferation, and Internet crime in Ghana. He said "I think I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that West Africa was relatively peaceful region until the discovery of oil in Nigeria," adding "the geo-strategic location and oil wealth of Nigeria very quickly turned that country into the epic-centre of crime and violence."
"From nowhere, drug trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their use in organized armed robbery and the infamous "419" become common place in Nigeria and soon started spreading like bush fire."
He said "Arms Brokers and irresponsible Governments had taken advantage of the situation by facilitating the transfer of arms to criminals, human rights violators and terrorists who just love to kill and maim."
Mr Broni reiterated calls by international arms control experts for stricter controls on small arms transfers, which had been identified as a crucial element in strategies to combat the activities of terrorist organizations and criminal groups.
Miss Elizabeth Adjei, GIS Director said trans-national crimes had assumed greater ferocity with advanced information technology to outwit law-enforcers.
She said technology advancement and globalisation as well and the formation of regional and sub-regional blocks had offered a fertile platform for the acceleration of trans-national crime. Trans-national criminals operate through money laundering, drug and child trafficking, terrorism, passport fraud, falsification of travelling documents and bribery of border officials.
Miss Adjei called for collaboration between law-enforcement agencies, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and other regional blocks to combat trans-national criminals.
Vice Admiral E. O. Owusu-Ansah, (rtd.) Associate Executive Director of ASDR said operations of trans-national criminal groups and its effect on national security posed a challenge to immigration officials who serve as frontlines of immigration control.
He noted with concern the increase in scale and type of trans-national organised groups, which he said threatened the West African sub-region, especially their adaptability to particular efforts and their capacity to mutate and change form rapidly.
"If these challenges are difficult to deal with, the environment within which their operations occur and within which your own activities as Immigration Officers confront theirs is characterized by two potential and mutually reinforcing contradictions".
They are; the declaration of Golden Age of Business, that expects GIS to be investor friendly - the perception of the outsider as a potential investor places Immigration Officers in a difficult working situation.
"You are not expected to be hostile to someone who may or may not be coming to do business in Ghana," he said.
He challenged the Immigration Officers to adopt effective strategies to straddle the inherent contradictions of a fast globalising world and integrating the economies and societies of the West Africa sub-region.