Partners at the just ended Commonwealth Speaker Series are urging government to find solutions to poverty, youth unemployment, lack of inclusivity which are the triggers of the twin-disaster of kidnapping and terrorism.
In a communiqué issued in Accra after the series, the partners, including, the National Security ministry, High Commissions of Canada, Australia and South Africa, as well as the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), observed that “Ghana was safe”.
However, they said issues of kidnapping and threats of terrorism are global challenges which need lots of global partnership and local economic interventions to solve them.
The Speaker Series themed “Securing our borders from kidnapping and threats of terrorism; the Commonwealth approach” was held at the time when the country was confronting the issues of the kidnapping.
So far, two Canadian girls (who were found after a week) and three missing Takoradi girls (yet to be found), as well as threats of terrorism especially in parts of Northern Regions of Ghana, have made the headlines.
The Speaker Series was to engage partners to find workable solutions to solve the twin-disasters of kidnapping and terrorism.
Below is the communiqué
COMMUNIQUE ON THE MAIDEN COMMONWEALTH SPEAKER SERIES
In light of the new trends in kidnapping and terrorism across the globe, the Commonwealth Office for the African region organized its maiden Speaker Series to discuss the twin issues of kidnapping and terrorism, and to find workable solutions to curtailing them.
At the end of a thoroughly engaging discussion on the subject, the Commonwealth Africa Office and its partners - Canada High Commission, Australia High Commission, South Africa High Commission, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), British Council, Ghana Police Service, the Ministry for National Security, observed as follows:
Ghana is safe. The issue of kidnapping and terrorism are global phenomena and needs global collaboration to solving the surge.
Kidnapping for ransom is an early symptom of major acts of terrorism and must be fought at its incipient stages before it escalates.
Terrorism and kidnapping are largely the end product of poverty, marginalization and increasing youth unemployment and lack of inclusivity and participation. Efforts must be made to fight these challenges from the grassroots level.
Government must take the lead in dealing with the issues of youth unemployment, marginalization, poverty and lack of inclusivity and participation etc. with Commonwealth countries and other global partners assisting to find solutions to these triggers.
Families of kidnapped victims, as well as the general public, must quickly get in touch with the police without acquiescing to the demands of the kidnappers.
The police must provide timely information to the media and to the general public to prevent any form of misreporting and misinformation.
The media must be circumspect in the information it disseminates in order not to create panic especially during difficult times of kidnapping and potential terrorist attack. It must also work together with the police to deal with the issue of fake news.
The police must continue its effort at fighting criminal elements in the country without prejudice to the country of origin of the suspected criminals.
There should more coordinated intelligence sharing between the governments of Commonwealth countries and their global partners to ensure a more comprehensive fight against terrorism and kidnapping.
Ghanaians must begin to see criminals as lawbreakers, not as citizens of one country or another.
There is a need to bridge the chasm between the hardcore security approach and community preventive peacebuilding efforts to address the threats of terrorism and other transnational organised crimes.
The Commonwealth Africa office will lead the effort in getting all partners to proceed according to this 10-point plan and will also intensify its projects aimed at empowering the youth and providing them with the needed entrepreneurial skills.
Ghana Police Service
Australia High Commission
South African High Commission
West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)