Conference on West African Security starts in Accra.

Security forces helping some freed hostages move to safety.

A conference on West African Security and Armoured Vehicle, opened on Monday in Accra to deliberate on improving homeland security resilience in the sub-region.

The meeting, which brought together National security and intelligence experts from the West African Region, is being held on the theme: “Combating threats to national security through enhanced monitoring and collaborative measures.”

For two days, participants would focus on thematic areas, including the improving the defence agility of West Africa’s armoured fleet; countering transnational threats in the West Africa Region by modernising the police and the armed forces and strengthening joint civil defence capabilities in the region.

Other areas are: defence against illicit smuggling across the West African Region, reducing the crime rate, enhancing the resilience of border and coastal security agencies.

Mr Derek Oduro, Deputy Minister of Defence speaking at the opening, said national security especially terrorism had become a major challenge confronting West Africa, in its quest to accelerate economic development.

“Even though Ghana is yet to suffer directly from these terrorism threats, we are not sleeping on our oars. We are taking cognisance of the popular saying that ‘when your neighbour’s house is on fire, you have to get a bucket of water ready by your house,”.

He said national response preparations for unforeseen circumstances included the institution of the Special Forces unit within the Ghana Armed forces and equipping and training them to deal with any such threats.

Mr Oduro said the police, which are the frontline agency for such security threats, have also received a number of operational boosting in terms of numbers, logistics and capacity building to facilitate their work.

He said Ghana was also collaborating with neighbouring countries and other countries in the region and beyond to fight terrorism across common borders.

“Interoperability is, therefore, essential among the countries of the sub-region. Hopefully, this international conference would help us achieve this goal,” he said.

The Commander of the Army training Command of the Ghana Armed forces, Brigadier General M. Aryee, said through simulation exercises, gaps in the security response mechanism in Ghana were identified and preparations were still on-going to address all the gaps.

He said although the Ghana Police Service was the lead agency in the dealing with national security, the army was always prepared to support in case the police was overwhelmed or take over when it became necessary. 

However, he noted that national security was not the duty of any one institution and underscored the need for multi-agency cooperation to ensure that there are no gaps in security response in the various countries and the sub-region.

He called for inter-national cooperation within the sub-region to effectively enhance security in West Africa and beyond.

The National Cyber Security Advisor at the Ministry of Communications, Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako said cyber threats were one of the evolving security threats facing West African countries, including Ghana.

He said dealing with such threats had become a bit more complicated because the private sector is the host of most of the telecommunication servers.

He had, therefore, underscored the need for stakeholders to prioritise cyber threats in building a resilient homeland security in the region and in Ghana.

“West African countries face evolving challenges, such as cyber threats that greatly threaten their national stability,” he said.

Source: GNA


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