The Ministry of National Security has, according to a story we have carried on our front page today, written to the various religious organisations in the country to enhance security at their places of worship. The advice follows recent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso and Togo, which resulted in the deaths of some soldiers.
“It would be recalled that in 2013, al-Shabab militants attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, leading to the death of about 60 people, including the late Prof Kofi Awoonor, a revered Ghanaian poet and author.
“While the Ministry of National Security is collaborating with the relevant state security and intelligence agencies to institute measures to avert terrorist attacks in the country, your outfit is urged to enhance security, especially in areas where mass gatherings are conducted. These measures may include, but not limited to, the installation of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at designated places of worship, and engage the services of approved private security guards among others,” the Ministry indicated in the letter to the religious groups.
The Chronicle commends the Ministry for the step it has taken, because security, in our opinion, is a shared responsibility. It is not only the security agencies which must protect the nation – individuals and groups also have roles to play. But, as Col. Festus Aboagye, a retired military officer, has advised, the Ministry of National Security should not end with the letters it has sent to the religious bodies.
It should constantly be educating the churches and mosques on how to identify a potential terrorist and measures to take to get the person arrested. The advice for these churches and mosques to install Close Circuit Television cameras in the places of worship is a good idea, but if these worshippers do not care about who is sitting next to them, the terrorists will come and accomplish their aims and then run away from the country.
It is alleged that the man who wanted to assassinate then President Mahama in church was spotted and arrested because of his demeanour whilst the service was going on. The big question is: how many Christians or Moslems have the expertise to detect some of these criminals? This is the reason why The Chronicle thinks constant education of the masses is the answer to this potential threat around us.
Definitely, Mr. Kan Dapaah and his lieutenants are not sitting idle – they have put all the needed security measures in place, but a criminal will always be a step ahead, and that is why we again agree with Col. Festus Aboagye that all trucks, especially those carrying charcoal should be thoroughly checked to see if they are not carrying guns.
The Chronicle is aware that the police in particular have, on a number of occasions, arrested criminals who tried to hide guns in the engine of their cars and other secret places. We, therefore,
have confidence in the various security agencies that they would not disappoint the state when comes to intelligence that would lead to arrest of the terrorists before they even make the attempt to attack us.