Ghana’s Parliament enhances security against terror threat

ParliamentGhana’s Parliament has beefed-up security within and around the vicinity of the State House Complex to curtail the ever-present potential for criminal terror attack.

As a result, rigorous security measures have been instituted to insulate that arm of government from any form of aggression and to enhance the safety of lawmakers.

Parliament resumed sittings on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, after a three-month recess, with MP’s and visitors greeted with the unusual increase in the number of police and plain-cloth security operatives.

Visitors, staff of parliament and MP’s alike have been subjected to thorough and rigorous security searches before being allowed into the precinct of the House.

And the characteristic loitering, hawking and commercial activities has also been curtailed effectively by the arrangement.

Per this procedure, all MPs, Ministers, parliamentary staff, visiting delegations and very important persons, as well as the press corps could use any of the three approved entry/exit points to and from the precincts of Parliament and the inner perimeter of the State House.

The approved entry/exits points include the State Protocol (Western) gate, the Ceremonial (Main) gate, the Eastern (Job 600) Gate.

However, visitors to Parliament can only use the Ceremonial (Main) gate where they would be screened and identified at the reception/security post before being ushered to the visitors lounge at the second floor of the Chamber block to wait for  whoever they intend to see.

A memo circulated on Thursday to Members of Parliament, Parliamentary staff and the press corps further charged visitors to parliament and attendees at parliamentary sittings and events to comply with security procedures and obey instructions given by officials.

It is mandatory for visitors to wear security passes at all times, and baggage’s are not to be left unattended or else would be disposed of by Parliament’s security as they deem fit.

Visitors are also prohibited from sending offensive items and flammable liquids to Parliament or risk confiscation of such items.

Service providers, outsourced staff and suppliers shall only have access to Parliament when they have official identifications cards issued by the institution.

Commercial activities is also prohibited within the precincts and inner perimeter of the State House Complex

Press Corps members without proper identification would be denied entry into Parliament.

The memo also advised all staff of parliament, the press corps and national service personnel to avoid facilities and places reserved exclusively for MP’s and authorized staff.

These spaces include the foyer at the Chamber Block, the cafeteria, the Minister’s lobby and the debating chamber.

The security arrangement also prohibits unregistered vehicles and vehicles without parliamentary stickers from the precincts of parliament. Visitors to parliament are to park their vehicles only at the Ceremonial gate car park.

The memo issued by the Clerk to Parliament, Mr Emmanuel Anyimadu drew attention to the current sub-regional and international political environment that had prompted governments to institute sweeping security reforms and counter terrorism actions to forestall criminal or terror attacks on state institutions.

It said the Houses’ role in “legislating and giving effect to government counter terror initiatives, protocols and treaties make it a target for terror attacks by potential terrorist and criminals”.

Some security experts have raised concern about the possibility of Ghana’s legislature being a centre of attack by terrorist because of the role the country plays in sub-regional security and peace enforcement operations.

And following Kenya’s Westgate mall terrorist attack last month, there have been several calls to step-up security at parliament because of concerns that terrorist would next set their radar on such state institutions in the West of Africa.

Members have overwhelmingly welcomed the move, urging the security apparatus to remain vigilant to curb any potential attack on the House and avoid being selective in scrutiny of persons entering Parliament, including legislators.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.