Security analysts in the country have advocated an increase in terrorism sensitisation to keep Ghanaians alert of threats of the menace.
They argued that, beyond the caution notices, the public must be educated on terrorism to enhance their security consciousness and keep them alert to identify suspicious activities.
They are Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College; AdibSaani, Security Analyst and AlhajiIrbard Ibrahim, International Relations and Security Analyst.
The analysts were reacting to caution notices issued to religious groups by the Ministry of National Security to enhance security at their public places of worship following growing threats of terrorism in West Africa in an interview with Ghanaian Times yesterday.
Prof.Antwi-Danso said although the caution was very important, it was not enough to prevent the menace.
He said there was the need to create awareness on terrorism among the populace saying “the word on terrorism should be everywhere for the people to know it is real and dangerous.”
He stated that the security consciousness of the Ghanaian should be invoked through information dissemination in schools, churches, mosques and other public places.
“I am particularly concerned about the low awareness of terrorism among Ghanaians. That should change because terrorism is a phenomenon which will not stop now. It is a crusade being carried out across the globe.
“We should raise terrorism consciousness. Ghanaians across the country must all know about terrorism by teaching it in schools and make it a part of our way of life.” Prof.Antwi-Danso added.
He said the government should work with the media to issue terrorism alert notices in newspapers as was done in other countries as part of efforts to raise awareness on the menace.
He further reiterated the need to address challenges, including high unemployment rate, youth indiscipline, lack of social amenities, local conflicts, among others which could serve as a conduit for rise in terrorism.
Alhaji Ibrahim called for support for security agencies to help deal with the emerging threats which have been occasioned by political instability in the West Africa sub-region.
He said the security agencies should sensitise local communities on terrorism activities to prepare them for any unforeseen occurrences.
He noted that terrorism response programme should be effectively coordinated among the security agencies to enable them undertake swift response should any act of terrorism happen.
Alhaji Ibrahim called for the immediate institution of strict security protocols at the various bus terminals to aid in the detection of improvised explosives, which was one of the dangerous weapons used by terrorists.
He urged the state security agencies to increase engagements with local security authorities to further enhance local security arrangements.
On his part, MrSaani advised Ghanaians to be security conscious and alert at all times by reporting suspicious activities to the authorities.
He also identified Ghana’s porous borders and small arms and light weapons proliferation as fundamental issues which could spur terrorism.
He called for the introduction of screening at all malls and intensify same at hotels and other public places.
“Government must immediately issue a directive to managers of the malls and other huge shopping centres throughout the country to introduce at least metal detector screening.
Metal detectors don’t cost much. So if churches and mosques can also spare less than a GH¢1,000 each to purchase some, it will help. This will invariably boost security consciousness and get Ghanaians to appreciate the severity of the threat,” MrSaani added.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS