Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister for the Interior, has urged all security services to cooperate with each other to combat border and internal security threats emerging globally.
He said in Ghana, border and internal security threats identified included trafficking in persons especially women and children, smuggling of migrants, illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, money laundering, porous borders, drug trafficking, and uncooperative attitude of some border residents.
The Minister said the consequences of those threats were very dire and therefore the need to strategize with the aim of combating such threats.
“It is in this vein that the world is, adopting numerous conventions to control such threats through the United Nations (UN) and other such bodies. One of such Conventions is the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Resolution 55/25 which was ratified on 15th November, 2000 at Palermo, Italy,” he said.
Mr Dery said this on Thursday at the opening of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Regional Commanders Conference in Accra, and urged GIS to ensure collaboration with other sister state institutions as well as organizations within and outside Ghana in the areas of logistical, knowledge and intelligence sharing.
He said through such collaborations, the Service would be playing its role to maintain internal security along the borders in the country and thus play its part to make Ghanaians feel safe.
The two-day conference is on the theme, “Responding to Contemporary Border and Internal Security Threats: The Role of Ghana Immigration Service” and will enable the Service to take stock of institutional activities of the year and assess achievements and shortcomings.
The Minister said in combating the security threats that faced humanity, the strategy had always been cooperation among stakeholders at all levels of association, as most of such menace was transnational in nature.
“Article 24 (1) of the Palermo Convention, 2000 states that ‘States parties shall co-operate closely with one another, consistent with their respective domestic legal and administrative systems, to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement action to combat the offences covered by this convention.”
Mr Dery said it was in consonance with the UN’s strategy in combating crime, that the GIS must adopt the concepts of cooperation, collaboration and coordination within its structures and with other stakeholders to contain all border and internal security threats.
That, he said, also meant Officers and Men must adopt the attitude of inclusiveness in information sharing with relevant stakeholders, both within and outside the Service because the perpetrators of such crimes, were properly networked and dotted across nations.
“They are financially well resourced and have adopted modern style management practices involving the use and adoption of virtual offices, mergers and take over among others. They are also noted for constantly varying their style of operation so to elude the watchful eyes of the law enforcement agencies”.
Mr Dery urged the Officers of the GIS to therefore adopt the right strategies to be ahead of such perpetrators by teamwork and the free flow of information within the structures of the Service.
Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, the Comptroller –General of Immigration, expressed the hope that the Conference would afford them the opportunity to take stock and also position Service to play effective roles for the benefit of national security.
He said the GIS’ mandate and role in safeguarding Ghana’s borders had taken a centre stage in national security as the threat emanating from terrorism and other transnational crimes in all countries was a clear menace that transcended borders.
That, he said, was a global challenge that required concerted efforts by various actors including all stakeholders.
“To me global response to transnational crimes, especially in the border dimension is very often under estimated and arguably, not exploited to the best of its potential,” he said.
Mr Takyi said: “In today’s interconnected world, where one action leads to an immediate action around the globe, there is the urgent need for the GIS to ensure effective border management. It is for this reason that Integrated Border Management Strategies have been adopted to deter terrorist movements and also disrupt activities and travels of undesirable elements”.
He recommended the Regional Commanders for their valuable contributions to the Service and the hard efforts in shaping the administrative and operational delivery of the Service.
He said the Service had been able to manage some of the challenges and chalked some modest successes even in the face of logistical constraints.