The Ketu North Municipal Director for National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Prosper Afealete has urged the youth to use the right channel to address their grievances. He was speaking at a day youth activist workshop organized by the National Commission for Civic Education in collaboration with the National Security Ministry on “Secessionism and Violent Extremism, National Cohesion and National Development”. Touching on Grievance Handling procedures: Public Order Act and Vigilantism, he admonished the youth to recognize the laws of Ghana, which is the 1992 Constitution. He said the Public Order Act provided the right to freedom of assembly including the freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations, but must work in accordance with security agencies, such as the police for the sake of peace and security. Mr. Afealetey further revealed how vigilante groups are hiding behind religious groups, NGOs, Keep-fit clubs, and the likes to carry out their heinous crimes in communities.
“It will surprise you that, vigilantism is operated on different levels and in different forms these days and no longer with names that can easily be identified and dealt with. Some are even trying to use religious groups, keep-fit clubs, and NGOs” he said. He advised the youth to be mindful of their associations and report the crime to the appropriate authorities at all times.
The representative from the National Security, Mr. George Abizy Baffour also said for a nation to provide security for its citizens, the first step is to address their grievances and feelings, and the creation of the National Security Ministry is a recognition of their efforts towards the provision of peace and security. He called on the youth to assist security agencies to deal with threats in their various communities. Mr. Baffour speaking on “Prevention of Violent Extremism in Ghana “says, the extremists and terrorists start their threats unknowingly gradually in communities among small groups or individuals and gain momentum to destroy the peace and development of a nation. “Some of these terrorist groups sponsor students by paying their fees and traveling abroad packages just to sell their evil ideologies and recruit them to carry out crimes”
Mr. Baffour added that the issues of the Western Togoland menace is beyond the Volta Region, but spreading to other regions as well and a wake-up call for all Ghanaians.
Speaking on “Peaceful Coexistence and National Development”, the Parish Priest for Dzodze, Rev. Fr Frederick Sedo-Henyo advised the youth to weigh their actions and not to allow their emotions to control their reasoning. He identifies some threats to peaceful coexistence which are, different ideas or ideologies, indiscipline behavior among the youth, culture of greed and selfishness that breeds violence, feeling of superiority over others or tribes, negative ethnicity or culture practice, and weakening of the family unit. Fr. Fenyo said these are all affecting the moral values of the youth. He also called on Ghanaians to dialogue with each other for peaceful coexistence.
The chairperson for the workshop, former Volta Regional Police Commander, Togbi Bedi Ahiadzi lamented about how some chiefs are being used by political parties to disrupt peace and development in their communities. He tasked all traditional authorities to be true representatives of peace and unity in their communities. Togbi Bedi also commended the National Commission for Civic Education for their good works for deepening democracy in Ghana.
The Commission Secretary Mr. Tito Voegborlo also encouraged the youth not to lose hope in Ghana but to birth a new love of patriotism to foster peace and unity for national development.
The NCCE with support from the National Security Ministry is currently organizing workshops in selected districts in the country to educate the youth where the activities of the secessionist groups are rife and equip them with the basic knowledge on the regulations and skills on non-violence to enable them to participate both effectively and ethically in nation-building. The youth leaders trained will be expected to impart knowledge gained to their peers and be agents of change.
The theme of the nationwide workshop is “Empowering Ghanaians to stand for National Cohesion and Inclusive Participation”.
By: Juliet Enam Obiri