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General News of Monday, 20 May 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Churches must develop security policies — Expert

The Director of the Royal Kingdom Security Network Limited, a private security firm, Dr Franklin Kwesi Biney, has underscored the need for all churches to develop comprehensive security policies and safety plans to guide their operations, in the wake of the terrorism threat alert on the country.

The policies, he explained, would serve as blueprints to guide the churches to adhere to some basic security practices in their quest to protect their members against any attack during church services.


According to him, irrespective of the alert, security had been one of the least prioritised areas of the churches because "I have engaged with many churches on security matters and none of them has had any such policy to champion its safety”.

He said the churches owed their members a duty of care and should, therefore, be willing to commit a chunk of their resources to security related materials to ensure their safety.

Dr Biney gave the advice when he delivered a talk on security at the Calvary Methodist Church at Adabraka in Accra yesterday.

The talk was to empower the leadership and members of the church with tips on security as part of its efforts to forestall any avoidable attack on it in future.

Alert

The move by the church was in reaction to a security alert issued by the Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (ACISS) to the effect that a Salafi Jihadist group based in Burkina Faso intended to launch attacks on churches in Ghana.

The ACIS claimed, among other things, that the group had been moving in and out of Ghana through the border with Burkina Faso over the past four months.

Last week, the security agencies, including the National Security, met with the leadership of the Christian community to discuss how to enhance security in the various churches in reaction to the threat.

Take alert serious

Dr Biney stated that although the alert issued by the ACISS was not the first to be issued, as other experts had cautioned same in the past, it was important that the churches took it seriously and took urgent actions accordingly.

“Terrorist threats do not begin in a day. The terrorists take years to plan before they launch attacks. So it is important that we also plan ahead of time to respond well to every situation, else we are going to be caught in the web.

“The worry is that the church is quick to invest in the welfare of its officers but reluctant when it comes to the welfare of its members. The price to pay for not planning will be greater than what we invest today,” he stated.

He, therefore, urged all churches to beef up their internal security by offering their security officers, ushers and other representatives professional training in security.

He also urged the members to be security conscious by paying critical attention to events around them and report to the appropriate authorities whenever they observed suspicious characters in the church.

Preparedness

The Diocesan Bishop of Accra of the Methodist Church, Rt Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey, said the church had taken the alert seriously, hence its decision to, as a matter of urgency, extend security training to its members.

He said the training would be extended to other circuits in the Accra Diocese in a bid to enhance the preparedness of the Methodist Church against such reprehensible attacks.