The West African Center for Countering Extremism (WACCE) says Ghana’s political stability could be disrupted as a result of terrorism in the Sahel and other national challenges such as youth unemployment.
In a report by the regional security research organization, he said that although Ghana has been relatively peaceful over the years, there is a likelihood of an upsurge, due to recent events in the sub- region, and neighboring countries such as Benin, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.
WACCE argued that threats of political instability can however be averted if measures are put in place to prevent imminent dangers.
“The terrorist threat is increasingly descending from the Sahel to the coastal states. Today, more than 53% of all ECOWAS states are experiencing insurgencies. The pervasive spillover phenomenon makes Ghana’s border regions a major area of concern.
“The recent attacks in Benin, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire highlight the determination of terrorists to expand beyond the landlocked Sahelian countries, where the insurgency has devastated thousands of lives and property over the past the last decade.
“Ghana is experiencing a large number of protracted and unresolved ethnic and chieftaincy conflicts and tensions, especially in the northern regions.
“Extremists’ inherently high capacity to exploit implies that these vulnerabilities place Ghana at risk of terrorist exploitation,” a summary of the report reveals.
The report further states that “many analyzes project the widespread youth unemployment rate of around 5%9 as one of the greatest risks. The current government created the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to absorb the high number of unemployed graduates, most of them temporarily.
Rising unemployment has pushed many people into cyberspace to live in an illicit economy.
The determination of social activists such as #FixTheCountry activists to exploit security, economic and governance challenges amplifies the risks associated with youth grievances.
The above highlights the widespread nature of the threat against Ghana and underscores the importance and urgency required to intensify national commitment to prevent the threat from spreading in Ghana”.
In a related development, an international expert in conflict resolution, Colonel (Rtd.) Festus Aboagye instructed the government to address socio-economic inequalities to combat terrorism and attacks.
According to him, the factors and circumstances that led to military coups in other West African countries exist in Ghana; therefore, the government must put in place strict measures to deal with the grievances of restless groups and individuals.
In a previous interview on Newsfilethe former military officer warned that the country is susceptible to coups and similar attacks in other neighboring countries if the socio-economic needs of the citizens are not fixed.
“We all need to be concerned. I belong to the school of thought that you don’t fight terrorism just with guns and bullets. Indeed, it will be more productive to tackle some of the socio-economic inequalities .
I don’t have to be a political scientist or an economist to claim that the northern part of this country [is] unstable border countries, where strong socio-economic inequalities exist,” he said.
Addressing how looming political instability can be averted, WACCE said, “The overall effectiveness of Ghana’s response will be determined by the willingness of the state to recognize that the battle against terrorism and the drivers that underlie it -tend cannot be won on the battlefield alone.
It will be won in the local community by addressing the drivers of radicalization and building resilience to the threat.
It will be won by effectively addressing grievances, mobilizing local community support and goodwill to build the social and economic infrastructure needed to build resilience against extremism.”