Editorial: GAF’s quick response to piracy threat is welcome news
Following what appears to be an invasion of our territorial waters by pirates, The Chronicle, through this very column a couple of days ago, drew the attention of the authorities to the dangerous development, and the need to quell it before it degenerates into something else.
We referenced the heavy economic penalty being paid by Nigeria where the practice is common, and concluded that Ghana should not fall into the same trap, and that something must be done to urgently deal with the situation.
The Chronicle is happy that after the issue had been raised, the security agencies have responded positively by deploying both the Air Force and Navy to the eastern sea borders to push back the pirates, who come from Nigeria to commit crimes in our waters and move back quickly.
We also understand that not only has the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) deployed its personnel, but was also collaborating with the various Municipal and District assemblies in the area.
This is being done through the regular education of the fishermen and the fishing communities to identify and expose pirates who might have been living among them and using their territories as their bases to launch deadly attacks on fishing vessels, and others operating in Ghanaian territorial waters.
In our view, if Ghana is to stop these pirates and secure our waters, it will take not only the exchange of gunfire to achieve this aim. Intelligence gathering is also important in the equation. We are, therefore, happy that the state security agencies have started engaging the various assemblies, fisher folks, and, in fact, all the communities along the stretch to sensitise them.
But, whilst commending the GAF and National Security for these security steps, we wish to also drum home that it should not be a nine-day wonder. The exercise should continue so long as Ghana exists as a country. The pirates, having realised that the security agencies are ready to meet them boot for boot, will now retreat and strike again when they realise that there is a lull in security operations in the area.
As we noted previously, Ghana is now on the trajectory to becoming an upper middle income country, but we dare say this feat may not be achieved if we allow the pirates to take over our waters. We should not forget about the fact that Ghana is now an oil producing country. Investors are still pumping billions of dollars into exploration to see if more oil could be struck.
Ghana, as a state, has the duty to protect these heavy investments on behalf of the investors. No serious oil exploration company would come and invest in territory that is considered volatile. The Chronicle admits that the activities of pirates have become a global security concern and not, therefore, limited to Ghana alone. But if we seek refuge in this and relax our security, it is not America, Britain, France, Germany that are going to laugh at the wrong side of their mouths, but Ghana.
Somalia is today considered a failed state because investors and tourists are no more interested in visiting the country. This has affected the inflow of forex throwing all their economic indexes out of gear. The Chronicle needs not tell the government that Ghana could also suffer the same fate if we sit aloof and allow these pirates to gain roots in our waters.
We insist that it is a real threat to our economic survival, and that the emerging piracy threat must be tackled with all the seriousness it deserves.