The Upper East Region Peace Council (UERPC) has held a dialogue session between civilians and security agencies at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region to build trust among them.
The forum offered civilians the opportunity to interact and share their challenges regarding security in the area with the security agencies to create a safe environment.
Both parties were also reminded on the need for them to effectively collaborate and share relevant information to check any possible infiltration of violent extremists in Ghana.
The forum brought officials from the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Armed Forces the National Investigations Bureau, Civil Society Organizations, community members, traditional leaders and youth groups together to dialogue.
The initiative was a project dubbed “Prevention of Violent Extremism through Social Accountability (PoVETSA)” implemented by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with the National Peace Council, and funded by the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana.
Alhaji Sumaila Issaka, the Chairman of the UERPC, told the Ghana News Agency at Paga in an interview after the dialogue, that the Council was concerned about threats of possible violent extremists from neighboring countries.
“We want to spread the message, so that if anybody around the borders sees anything, they will say something, and they will know how to say it and where to say it,” Alhaji Issaka noted.
He said the programme created the opportunity for every group to frankly tell the other what they thought about their activities, and further afforded the security agencies, especially the Police the opportunity to explain their actions in certain situations to the civilians.
“Obviously, the Police have their line of action, the Immigration have their way of doing things, and from the civilian point of view, if they observe anything and they do not have the opportunity to speak out to each other, the security agencies, especially the Police will not get information.”
Alhaji Issaka said it was the expectation of the Council that representatives from the various groups would spread the message on the need for the civilians to effectively interact and build trust between them, to prevent violent extremists’ activities.
Mr. Ali Anankpieng, the Region’s Executive Secretary of the Council, who took participants through the dialogue session, indicated that from the discussions, it was clear there were issues that needed to be addressed in other for the community to be as safe as they wished.
“In the end, the community members expressed their frustrations and what they think the security services should be doing to support them build safe communities. The security services also expressed their concerns and expectations from the community members.
“So they agreed to work together, especially in the sharing of information that will help them to work together to promote the peace of their communities,” he said.
A Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI) Robert Ubindam, the Head of Operations and Intelligence of the Ghana Immigration Service at the Paga border, said the trust and confident levels between the civilians and the security agencies had increased, and both parties agreed to work together to prevent violent extremism and terrorism in Ghana.
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