The need to promote good governance and national cohesion remains a key part for Ghana to consolidate her democratic gains. To achieve this, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) have been organizing training workshops throughout Ghana under the NORPREVSEC Project. The project which was also held in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region by the District Directorate of the NCCE provided the platform for seasoned resource persons to deepen tolerance and national cohesion among the people of the district and the Upper West region. It is also to create awareness among the people on the increase of violent incidents in neighboring countries since some communities of the Wa West district shares borders with the Francophone countries.
Mr. Nurideen Mumuni, the Wa West District Director of NCCE, in the opening address indicated to the participants that the training engagement was being sponsored by the European Union and that all districts in fourteen (14) regions of Ghana were undertaking this project. Mr Nurideen Mumuni concluded by reminding the participants to be extra vigilant on the lookout for suspected characters since many of the communities in the district share closer boundaries with the French
The Regional Director, Madam Patience Sally Kumah told the participants to see the need to continue tolerating one another despite their ethnic, religious and political differences in other to bring about national cohesion. She also urged them to share the knowledge gained here with their peers and relations who due to budgetary allocation and space were not invited.
The Wa West District Police Commander of the Ghana Police Service, ASP Alexander Tang took the participants through the PUBLIC ORDER ACT. He cautioned the participants to always notify the Ghana police service five (5) days as stated in the act before they can embark on demonstration, procession, street carnival, and many others in other for the police assigned personnel to provide them with security.
ASP Alexander Tang urged the participants not to take the law into their own hands by beating people they suspect to have committed or about committing crimes but to lawfully hand them over to the police for further investigation as well prosecution when found guilty. He said it is a crime for a citizen to beat a suspect when arrested and went further to caution that, mob or instant justice can lead to the death of suspects which in itself is a crime against the perpetrators.
Rev. Alfred Assih of the Church of Pentecost was one of the resource persons; he spoke on Peace Building Mechanism. He took participants through the following, (1) What is Peace-building (2)What does Peace-building involve (3) What are community-based approaches to peace-building (4) Types of community-based approaches to peace-building (5)Aims of community-based approaches to peace-building and (6) key considerations for Peace-building sustainability.
Rev. Alfred Assih said the Peace-building mechanism is or are to address the underlying causes of conflict, helping people to resolve their differences peacefully and lay the foundations to prevent future violence. He also said peace-building could be providing support to formal processes of negotiation between governments and armed groups or ensuring marginalized groups can have a say.
On community-based approaches to peace-building, he urged the participants, the police, civil society and local communities to jointly take responsibility for and develop solutions to local safety and security. He said every individual must intensify their security since the numbers of police service personnel in the district are woefully inadequate to reach out to all homes and communities at the same time.
Rev. Alfred Assih said in peace-building, Participatory processes should be inclusive and should incorporate groups that are often on the margin (e.g. the poor, women, youth, minorities, the aged, the disabled, the landless, and displaced persons). Community members, including marginalized groups, should be involved in community-level discussions and decision-making and should have access to information on the specific issue of contention or settling.
As future leaders of our dear nation Ghana, “I urged all present to cooperate with the state security services by providing them with valuable and timely information to deal with miscreants in our communities the moment we suspect their movement and actions, said Rev. Alfred Assih”.
Mr. Nurideen Mumuni took the participants through some strategies “Preventing Violence Extremism in Ghana“and these included: What is Violence Extremism, Community Surveillance, Awareness Creation in Workshop Centers, Possible Signs Of Radicalization, Neighborhood Watch /Community Patrol and What to do during an attack, eg., Toll-free numbers.
He said violence extremism is the act of condoning andenacting violence with ideological or deliberate intent, such as religious or political violence which results in the elimination or causing injury to opponents. Mr. Nurideen by this asked participants to be wary of the actions and inactions of their close relations and strangers in their communities and workplaces.
On Community surveillance and strategies to preventing violent extremism which he said is the close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal,Mr. Nurideenurged the participants todevelop joint and participatory strategies in their communities with Civil society and local communities working together to protect communities from recruitment and the threat of violent extremism, and support confidence-building measures at the community level by providing appropriate platforms for dialogue and the early identification of grievances to prevent the emergence of violent extremism.
Also on awareness creation at workshop centers and public places, Mr. Nurideen said, pastors and Imams should preach to their congregants by using the two most holy books during worshiping time on the need for all to play their part both at home and work to prevent acts and actions of a violent extremist. He cautioned them to be wary of new convents, especially philanthropists. He also told participants especially the market women and the dressmakers to pay more attention to the movement and actions of persons during market days and work.
On signs of radicalization, Mr. Nurideen Mumuni told the participants to also be wary of their friends and relations becoming increasingly argumentative, refusing to listen to different points of view,Changing friends and appearance, distancing themselves from old friends, Changing online identity.
The programme which was organized on the 9th ended successfully with the issuance of a communiqué including the following key points;
- To promote religious and political tolerance
- To assist relevant security agencies by divulging information on suspicious characters in their society
- Refraining from character defamation among political actors
- To be ambassadors of peace
- To form surveillance and vigilance committees as community watch-dogs and to
- Co-exist peacefully among all ethnic groups
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