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TERRORISM: A THREAT CLOSER THAN WE THINK

A statement issued by Communication Minister, Hon Edward Omane Boamah, on Tuesday the 15th of March, 2015, urged Ghanaians and other nationals resident in Ghana to bear with security measures that may be enforced at various locations from time to time for the purpose of public safety. The statement said the National Security Council on the basis of briefings by the intelligence agencies and partners has determined that there is a credible terrorist’s threat to all countries in the sub-region.

16 people were killed in Ivory Coast hotels on Sunday; gunmen killed 30 people in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou in January, while an attack in Mali last November left 20 dead. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed all attacks, which targeted hotels popular with foreigners.

Terrorism is closer to us than we think, it’s been going on for a very long time in Nigeria and its now very close, it has moved to Mali, we have had incidences in Burkina Faso and now Ivory Coast. The Francophone countries have a more regimental security set up than we do; yet they have been beaten to it. It’s true that most of the countries, which have been attacked, are French speaking countries but that is not to say terrorism is not close to us, these countries are our neighbors. It should no terrorist who intend to cross over in Ghana to do looking at how unsecured our borders are currently.

Our Security and Safety setup is not well structured, we only had a press release informing us to be vigilant whiles going about our normal duties, the statement didn’t tell us what we should do in the event of a suspicion or an attack.

There were no emergency numbers to call, in times like these you don’t a expect the whole nation to be depending on the normal police emergency lines, what should have been done was to have emergency numbers dedicated purposely for suspected terrorist acts.

Major national assets like the Akosombo and Bui dam, Security Installations, Power stations, airports, Seaports, Ministries etc. should be labeled as no go area for ordinary citizens and visitors. In times like these you push everybody back and make sure you control every means of transportation.

Terrorist are always looking for places where they can get people from different countries to attack to make their attack international, we need to include the international schools in our protection strategies because most of these schools have more ten (ten) Nationalities and its therefore important not to only protect the diplomatic missions and hotels but to also including these International schools in our protection plans.
By now Media houses should have been taken through drills, Mock exercises and training on how to handle such emergencies, most emergencies such as fires, floods, robberies accidents etc are most often than not reported to one Media house or the other, yet there has not been any attempt at training reporters and broadcasters in dealing with any suspected report of terrorism.

Our state of alertness must be properly categorized into levels and made public for the benefit of every one in Ghana and visitors to the country, where level one could lowered ALERTNESS and level three could be heightened ALERTNESS with proper Dos and Don’ts

There must be a national security and safety policy that is accessible to everyone; these are basic things we need as citizens. We need a clear-cut national security and safety policy.
Currently, if there was any fire outbreak the first organizations that are contacted includes the fire service and most likely the media houses, the fire service gets to the location of the fire only to realize the facility could be looted and so the police must be present, the police gets there only to also realize there are injuries to persons in and around the facility so they then they call the ambulance service, with a clear National Security and Safety Policy, these parameters would be captured and defined and made very operational so that with just a one phone call all emergency service providers would be informed to an emergency situation

The president is a citizen, His vice and all ministers and we all have a role to play in the protection of the state call Ghana. We need to be able to pass on good information that will stop people who want to harm us or put the country in danger. We need to educate ourselves about possible signs of danger and inform others as well. We need to be calm and be on the look out to point out suspicious characters.

In conclusion I will say Ghana is a safe place for now and all we need to do as citizens is to remain calm because in the state of panic there can be a lot of confusion.

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