Regional News of Thursday, 18 October 2012
Mr. Justin Bayor, National Network Coordinator for the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), has warned Ghana to strengthen its security vigilance, given some incidents that have been occurring lately which have the propensity to throw the country into violence.
“As the elections draw closer and with what we are witnessing lately in Ghana, it is vital that we increase our collective vigilance to ensure an incident free election come December 7, 2012”, he said.
He explained that with the influx of ex-combatants from neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire in Ghana and the proliferation of arms, the likelihood of politically motivated youth violence, and dormant chieftaincy conflicts, all had the possibility of plunging the country into instability.
Mr. Bayor raised these concerns in Tamale on Thursday during the opening ceremony of a two-day training workshop for conflict monitors under the theme; “Developing Ghana’s capacity for early warning”.
The training brought two representatives each from the ten regions of Ghana to be trained to feed information on security concerns into the Early Warning system of WANEP-Ghana aimed at alerting the nation about potential security threats, for immediate prevention.
“With our western neighbor becoming suspicious of us and the undeniable fact of ex-combatants in our midst, in the event that the elections become disputed, there will be an opportunity for all these factors to cause mayhem in the country”, the Coordinator said.
Mr. Bayor said in the pursuit of its mandate of working towards the prevention of violence, WANEP had since 2008 been operating the Ghana Alert Project (GAP) which had established the Ghana Early Warning System (EWS) which had also played a tremendous part in averting numerous cases of violence in the country.
He urged the National Security Council not to treat information provided by WANEP-Ghana as suspect information stressing that the organization will link the Security Council through an SMS alert system in order for it to appreciate the security challenges.
Mr. Chukwuemeka B. Eze, WANEP Director of Programmes indicated that though West Africa had made positive strides in the area of democratization, post-conflict recovery, peace-building and governance, especially in countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there was deep concern about the fragile nature of the modest achievements.
He said the terrorist activities in the Sahel region, maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, crime and drug trafficking, illegal oil bunkering and criminality in the Niger Delta region, weapons proliferation and the resurgence of undemocratic means to remain in power were all worrying phenomena.
He said the National Early Warning System (NEWS) concept of WANEP sought to provide a platform for a broad-based participatory approach to conflict prevention and mitigation in West Africa.