The murder of two Ghanaian drivers by suspected terrorists between the Burkinabe and Malian frontiers offers an important food for thought.
Although we have commented on the dangers posed by terrorists next-door, we have not witnessed the kind of response required under our current circumstances.
We do not doubt the importance of treating such issues as confidential and therefore restricted. While we do not expect to see the national security apparatus releasing details of measures they have for the containment of such threats, we nonetheless want to witness a heightened sensitization of Ghanaians about the subject under review. That will not be asking too much. Even with the real threat next-door, we hardly hear about any attempts at educating residents who are on the frontline, as it were. These are the people who will feel the initial brunt of any skirmish by the bad guys.
They must therefore be educated about telltale signs and what to do. This call is a repeat but it is in order since, after all, no amount of money or even energy is too much when security management is concerned. In an earlier commentary, we emphasized the need to educate frontier dwellers especially those on the Ghana/Burkina border about what the presence of terrorists across their abodes implies.
Those who do not understand what it means to be caught in crossfire or even the possibility of terrorists breaching our borders will more likely constitute sitting ducks when the bad guys strike.
Ghana is arguably the most porous country on the continent and this coupled with the ECOWAS free movement protocol citizens of member countries come to Ghana with ease.
The Ghana Immigration Service – the state agency charged with managing the inflow of visitors – is unable to survey all the frontiers hence the presence of some visitors who should not even be here.
The security implications of an uncontrollable movement of visitors from the troubled neighbouring countries are enormous and we ignore them at our peril.
We cannot take things for granted indefinitely especially since ours is a relatively peaceful country. Citizens know not the kind of strife as it obtains in other parts of the continent. It is on this basis that we should take all the necessary measures to ensure that terrorists do not find our country comfortable to pitch camp.
Ghanaians should begin to live as though they are in a war zone. This way, they would be sufficiently security conscious so they can call the attention of security agents to suspicious elements in our midst. This should especially apply to the frontier areas where residents hardly appreciate the enormity of the trouble posed by the terrorists next-door.