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A security analyst, Emmanuel Sowatey, says Ghana should be cautious when trying to help catch some 1,800 convicts who escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre in Nigeria.

Speaking on Top Story, he stated that it will not be helpful if the Immigration at the various borders consider every person coming in a potential criminal.

“If you think every person from a particular country is a potential criminal or crook and you are not careful, and you increase that animosity, the room you have to recruit such people to provide the intelligence will close.”

He explained that people who may be unhappy with the hardcore procedures like the introduction of the military that government might employ will hold a grudge against the country.

Mr Sowatey stated that these grudge bearers might begin to share their experiences with others which will create a bad reputation for the country.

“The other thing is that such people who bear grudge will share with other people in other places and such information will be repackaged and used against you. So it is very important that in fighting terrorism you don’t only think about the heavy guns like the military camps, and stereotyping arresting people, among others. You need to be very very careful.”

His comment comes after the Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service has directed regional commanders to be on the alert across the country’s borders following the massive prison break in Nigeria.

Laud Affrifah in a statement expressed alarm at the possibility that some 1,800 convicts who escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre in Nigeria may seek to cross into Ghana to avert recapture.

As such, DCG Affrifah said commanders should increase their visibilities especially on unapproved route and be on the lookout for the convicts. 

Mr. Sowatey said that because Ghana has always welcomed guests with respect and love, the country can use both soft and hard approaches to apprehend the criminals.

“You should be using the soft security power or approach in ways that reinforce the hard ones. I am not saying the military type of secuirty is not important, we always need that power. But I believe you need to combine that fairly well with the soft ones.”

He also urged the media to intensify education adding that resource persons from Nigeria can be called in to help Ghana’s security agencies to broadly understand the issue at hand.

“Discussions in the media are very important especially in terms of making sure that the media plays its oversight role well. So for example we will bring to us another perspective from Nigerians in Nigeria and they will bring to us a dimension that we might not have.”

“Once we have that, in terms of the media having the network, they are able to play their oversight role. When I say oversight I have in mind particularly human rights and humanitarian laws.”