By: Murtala Issah
The European Union is funding a project to address electoral violence and counter the threat of violent extremism along Ghana’s Northern borders has been launched in Tamale.
The project seeks to strengthen security and resilience in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and the North East regions.
Over the next 27 months, the project will focus on reducing the risk of political violence, build the capacity of police officers in intelligence gathering, peace building, and taking steps to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism.
The initiative is a response to the growing threat of terrorism in the sub-region. Violent extremist groups now control large areas of the Burkina and Mali.
The groups have also staged attacks in the Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin.
Though there are no official records of an attack on Ghana, security experts say, violent extremist organizations operate a warehouse in Ghana and uses the country to raise resources for their violent activities in the Sahel.
European Union Ambassador to Ghana, Irchaad Razaaly, in a speech to launch the project, emphasized the need for collaboration to win the war on terror.
He said, “supporting and empowering the civil society and local NGOs through their involvement in NorPrevSec is better in tackling violent extremism and radicalization, especially among the youth”.
The event brought together the security agencies, delegations from the Spanish, EU and Norwegian embassies in Ghana, civil society organizations, traditional rulers, representatives from the Regional Coordinating Councils of the Northern, Upper West, Savannah, Upper East and the North East regions.
In an address, the Director of the Counter Terrorism Fusion Center, under the Ministry for National Security, Colonel Timothy Taa-Ba-Nah, emphasised the need for continued sensitisation for all citizens to be vigilant.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Saani Alhassan Shaibu expressed gratitude to the European Union and its partners for the intervention, saying Northern Ghana is already struggling to cope with underdevelopment and therefore any threat to the peace and security of the area, remains a major threat to the socio-economic development of the people.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), a Swiss based NGO (COGINTA) and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), a Spanish based organisation.
The Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Javier Gutiérrez, reiterated his government’s commitment towards sustainable peace and security in Ghana.