The youth in the Sissala East Municipality of the Upper West Region has denounced the threat of joining extremist groups despite rising youth unemployment in the country.
“Despite the many challenges confronting us with the biggest being youth unemployment, that will not push us into joining extremist groups,” they said.
The youth made this bold statement at a day’s training programme organized by the Sissala East Municipal office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Tumu.
The programme was organized under the European Union (EU) funded project, “Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE)” in the five Northern Regions and other hotspots in Ghana.
The youth, therefore, vowed never to join any extremist group but rather will help to expose any suspicious acts by individuals or group of persons to the appropriate quarters.
They further pledged to engage in social media campaigns to prevent and contain violent extremism using #say no to violent extremism.
The youth also underscored the need to embark on community sensitization derive, liaise with relevant stakeholders to form community watchdog committees, and encourage all the idle youth to take up apprenticeship training in steel bending, tailoring, and carpentry among others to reduce youth unemployment.
Mr Hussein Elyasu, the Sissala East Municipal Director of NCCE, pointed out that for the fight against violent extremism to be successful, two important issues must be tackled including the knowledge and attitudes of people regarding violent extremism.
“Knowledge or other forms of violent extremism has strong correlation with the attitudes and behaviours of people on the subject,” he said.
“Knowledge without positive attitude of reporting criminal matters to the security, living in harmony with others, obeying rules, and regulations will not bring positive results,” the Municipal NCCE Director added.
Mr Elyasu told the youth to venture into vocational training like tailoring, carpentry, motor mechanics, and masonry among others to prevent themselves from being radicalized by various extremists groups.
Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mr Addai William, Assistant Municipal Commander, speaking on the topic, “Preventing Violent Extremism” said the youth were the eyes and ears of the security agencies in preventing violent extremism urging them not to hesitate in reporting any suspicious acts to the various security agencies.
To prevent and contain violent extremism, DSI Addai said, the push and pull factors of violent extremism must be addressed collectively by various stakeholders and must not be left with only the state to handle.
Mr Osman Luriwie Kanton, the Executive Director of Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV), in a presentation on “Peace Building Mechanisms,” noted that the cardinal principle of peace building hinges on mutual trust and respect among the citizens and between citizens and the security agencies.