Politics

Early warning systems set up against security threats

Early warning systems, including maritime coordination centres, have been set up to pick intelligence on potential security threats to the country.

Measures are also being put in place to establish an Accra initiative for coastal states and communities, where the leadership of the security services will meet periodically to review the security situation in coastal areas.

They will also share intelligence to prevent security threats, particularly among Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that share common borders.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who announced this at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, said the systems were in line with measures adopted by member states of ECOWAS in the wake of rising security threats.

She explained that while the early warning centres would pick up signals relating to political instability, terrorism and violent extremism in the sub-region, the maritime centres were part of a regional framework to counter illegal activities such as piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.

Tenure

The minister also said that the ECOWAS Commission was considering a supplementary protocol on good governance and democracy that would ensure that constitutionally elected Heads of State had a maximum of two-term tenure.

She was responding to a question on what preventive measures ECOWAS was putting in place to address issues of political instability in the sub-region as a result of some leaders changing constitutions to extend their stay in power.

Ms Botchwey said public education on the benefits of good governance and democracy was also key to ensuring that the citizenry, including leaders, imbibed those tenets, adding that “there is no justification for any constitutionally elected leader to subvert the will of the people”.

Political stability

She further said Ghana had a strong interest in the stability and security of the African continent, including its neighbours.

“The insecurities we see or experience — whether due to attacks or murder of thousands of people in communities across the Sahel, including ECOWAS member states — are worrisome,” she said.

The minister also expressed concern over the inflow of weapons, including small arms that usually accompanied migrants and terrorists, into some countries in the sub-region.

She said those security threats had a negative impact in the development of the country, including “our Ghana Beyond Aid agenda”.

“We cannot realise the benefits of free trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) if terrorism, insecurity and political upheavals disrupt trade and the industrialisation agenda that should support increased trade and employment in our countries,” Ms Botchwey added.

She further mentioned some communities in Afram Plains and Agogo in the Eastern and the Ashanti regions, respectively, and said “people may not be aware that they are part of the story of upheavals in the Sahel, but the people feel the disruptive and damaging effects of the migrating herdsmen from the Sahelian region”.

She said in Ghana’s capacity as Chair of ECOWAS, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, “we have provided leadership to address the sources of division and instability in our member states”.

Other matters

The minister’s briefing covered security in West Africa and the Sahel Region, service delivery on passport and consular services, enhancing the country’s image abroad, influence, as well as economic diplomacy.

She also threw light on the premium passport service, the extension of the passport validity period, the establishment of passport application centres, service delivery, the construction of the Upper East Regional Passport Centre in Bolgatanga and the introduction of chip-embedded passports.

She said as part of efforts to decentralise the acquisition of passports, 13 passport application centres had so far been established throughout the country, with the construction of the Upper East Regional centre to commence soon.

graphic.com

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