National Security officials in the Oti Region, together with their National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) colleagues, have organised a sensitisation workshop for youth groups in the region.

The session focused on the need for them to be security-conscious and avoid extremist activities that could threaten the peace and security of the nation.

Participants were drawn from the various political parties, the artisans, students, teachers, and the Ghana Health Service among others.

Speaking to JoyNews after the event, the acting Regional Director for NCCE, Clement Kwesi Tettey Mamadu noted that the workshop, which was across the eight districts in the region has enlightened the participants.

“The presentation from the Police in that regard has enlightened them [participants] on what to know and do during public gatherings. I think we are in the right direction and things like this, if every quarter, if we are able to engage the youth on activities like this, I believe that we would live together from things that are dividing our society,” he said.

National security, NCCE dialogue with Oti Region youth on violent extremism

He added that more resources are needed to expand the conversation on national security issues to other communities in the coming months.

Mr Tettey Mamadu, therefore, called on individuals and organisations in the region with the capacity to support the commission to come to their aid.

The acting District Chief Executive for Kadjebi, Maxwell Asiedu on his part noted that the workshop has come at the right time, adding that it would aid the participants to restrain themselves from joining extremist groups.

National security, NCCE dialogue with Oti Region youth on violent extremism

Advising the youth, the DCE urged them to take education seriously “and become gainfully employed. If you are not able to go to school, you should find something to do, especially, handiworks and farming,”

The Local Council of Churches who were also represented by their chairperson, Vincent Darkpo said there is a need to protect the peace enjoyed in the country by avoiding the rising cases of armed robberies, killings, economic hardship, and threats of terror among others.

“The reason we have gathered here is to brainstorm, strategize to bring our youth on board to arrest these emerging threats.

“For National Security, Ghana does not live in isolation of other nations, hence the need to nib in the bud, any threats before it comes up. The unit, activities around the country’s borders calls for concern,” he noted.

National security, NCCE dialogue with Oti Region youth on violent extremism

Citing developments in countries such as Burkina Faso and the Sahel Region, the National Security Coordinator for Oti Region, Nana Afrim-Darko said the national security strategy has improved and is now centred more on humans.

“National Security strategy has moved from intrastate or protecting the state and its territorial integrity to where we are human-centred.

“This human-centred security includes food security, economic security, environmental security etc…etc…These are the things that would alleviate our youth from poverty,” he said.

Nana Afrim-Darko also advised the youth to resist any attempts to be recruited into fighting in other countries or destabilising the nation, apprising that such acts have not paid off as there are evidence in countries that have had some experiences.

“Precedent has shown us that this vigilantism does not pay. It always ends badly for those who get themselves involved. We should channel our resources to the productive end of this country where the youth would be engaged in meaningful employment.”

National security, NCCE dialogue with Oti Region youth on violent extremism

Touching on joblessness, Nana Afrim-Darko said the situation among the youth is a major concern to national security hence the new strategy to address the concerns.

“If you read the national security strategy, it seeks to create the enabling environment where the youth can engage and air their grievances than joining vigilante groups. If you stay in your country and help, it helps than living a lesser evil to join a greater evil.”

Some participants who shared their experiences on the programme with JoyNews called for more security patrols as four out of the eight districts are border districts with neighbouring Togo.

Also present at the workshop, were representatives from the Ghana Police Service and the BNI.