ACCRA, MARCH 7, 2023 (CISA)–Fr Clement Kwasi Adjei, Director of Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate at the National Catholic Secretariat has cautioned on violent extremism warning that it risks escalating into a full-blown security crisis.
“We need to take immediate and decisive action to prevent the spread of violent extremism into Ghana and this requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that addresses the root causes of conflicts and builds the resilience of communities to resist the lure of extremism groups”, he said further noting how Ghana has been relatively peaceful as compared to many of our neighbouring West African countries
Fr Adjei was speaking at a day’s Regional Dialogue Session on trending conflict issues in the Upper West Region on the theme: “Trending Conflicts in Ghana, Fertile Grounds for Violent extremism: A call for action.”
The forum formed part of the Sahel Peace Initiative, with the National Catholic Secretariat of Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference as implementers with funding support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). It comprised 75 participants made up of policy makers and implementers, academia, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth leaders, political parties, women groups, Civil Society Organisations, the Justice and Peace Commission, heads of government institutions and individuals.
Among the areas dissected is the trending conflict issues and how they could serve as fertile grounds for violent extremism infiltration, an understanding on what the current gaps in addressing these trending conflict issues are, and an understanding of what needs to be done.
In that regard, Fr Adjei said the Church is following keenly the efforts of the government in fighting terrorism and violent extremism in the sub region and gave the assurance that the Catholic Church is ever ready to partner the government. He noted that the rise of violent extremism in the Sahel is a growing threat, with Ghana not exempted.
“We have seen examples of how they lured vulnerable people, especially the youth into their ranks by providing them with a sense of belonging, purpose and identity. We must not allow this to happen in our beloved country,” he advised.
The five regions in Northern Ghana were also highlighted to be at great risk of violent extremism as they border with Burkina Faso, a country highly affected by armed groups. Some of the communities in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger were under direct attack by violent factions who sought to aggravate and exploit community grievances and tension for their own gain.
He said the Bawku District bordering Burkina Faso and Togo and the Sisaala East Municipality, which is also bordering Nazinga Forest in Burkina Faso, have been experiencing increasing spillover of violent extremism related activities.
Fr Adjei suggested the promotion of inclusive and accountable governance, committed leaders who would fight corruption and promote transparency and accountability, prioritised the needs of the citizens and ensured that their voices were heard to help prevent violent extremism in Ghana.