A peaceful, thriving, and economically buoyant society is the desire for a country whose sole aim is to ensure the happiness and wealth of its people.
With safety and security being the catchphrase, a country like Ghana is globally renowned as an oasis of peace and security, albeit recently it has been increasingly worried following a spate of terrorist attacks in neighboring countries and its inherent political and ethnic tensions at home.
Considering the ethnic tensions, clan succession fights in the north and rising unemployment across the country, the country has been deemed as a safe ‘haven’ for exploitation by terrorist groups if its social problems aren’t urgently addressed.
Coupled with this, the invasion of refugees from neighboring countries have nothing to taper down the impact of a looming attack on the country, and the question on the lips of many is: when is being hospitable a tad dangerous?
While diplomacy is an essential part of a country’s governance process, maintaining a tight leash on the internal security of the country should be the starting point, thereby, safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of citizens must be wholly prioritized.
Over the years, good governance and a formidable civil society has spared Ghana from the militia attacks that the neighboring countries are faced with. Despite being surrounded by terror-hit countries, it is apparent at first glance that Ghana seems to have been largely spared from terrorist attacks.
However, the 2022 Global Terrorism Index from Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace shows that the Sahel has become a global epicentre for violent extremism, with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger accounting for three of the 10 countries with the largest increases in terrorism-related deaths in 2021.
Also, recent attacks in neighbouring Togo and Côte d’Ivoire reveal that the threat is growing, leading Ghanaian authorities to raise the alarm. The attacks in neighbouring countries have led government to put a human face by ‘adopting’ refugees in the country, albeit some militant groups which have found their initial place of abode nearly uninhabitable may be harboring plans, if not done so already, to seek refuge by posing as refugees.
Efforts to beef up security in the country crucial
Government is certainly not resting with its “See something, say something” campaign which is part of a series of regional campaigns, aimed at sensitizing residents on their personal security and on activities that could potentially compromise security in their communities and also encourage participation in safeguarding and sustaining national security.
Also, there has been a repatriation of Burkinabe refugees from Ghana, which according to the ministry of national security, it has established a temporary reception centre in the Upper East Region, capable of holding an estimated 2,100 displaced people from Burkina Faso.
While this is a commendable move, a keener look and focus on conflicts in the Norther region which has festered for decades, and resurfaces like perennial floods could be the very Achilles heel which may be exploited. With border control playing a significant part of the security equation, there is a lot to be done despite immigration camps and bases set up to ensure people entering the country are documented and captured. This is so because refugees and smugglers even, are always looking for ingenuous ways of cutting corners to make way into the country.
As it stands, Ghana has slipped as the second most peaceful country in Africa in the 2022 index to the 4th position this year, further emphasizing the need to enhance trust and confidence between the security agencies and the civilian population to prevent extremism in the country and to improve understanding and tolerance as the country prepares itself for the 2024 general elections.
One thing certainly remains significant, porous borders, smuggling routes and refugee invasion become major threats to the peaceful atmosphere in Ghana as Islamist militants take advantage of political instability in neighbouring countries to expand their frontiers in coastal West Africa from the Sahel region. This, may portend disaster if proactive steps are not taken to foil such attempts from gaining full expression.