In the early hours of Monday 30 July 2018, 16 participants from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) paid a working visit to WACSI. The goal of their visit was to gain an understanding of the state of internal security and community policing in Ghana from a civil society perspective.
According to Brigadier General B. H. Mohammed, who doubled as head of the delegation, “the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has tasked us to carry out a study on strengthening internal security and community policing”. He explained that his team is among six teams that are undertaking a similar exercise in West African countries. The countries that are simultaneously receiving teams from NIPSS include Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Senegal and Swaziland.
“The purpose of our visit to Ghana is to learn how to improve internal security and community policing in our country”, Brigadier Mohammed said.
Kwabena Kroduah, Head of Finance, Katherine Adarkwa, Head of Administration and Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Head of Knowledge Management and Communications shared their perspectives on the state of community policing and internal security in Ghana.
Jimm Chick raised three key factors that significantly pose as threats to internal security in several West African countries; unemployment, access to arms, high proliferation of the consumption and abuse of illicit drugs and a poor understanding of the roles of different stakeholders in the internal security architecture.
To address these challenges, the WACSI team recommended that there is a need to reform the education curriculum in most African countries. This is to ensure that education programmes empower learners with employable skills. There is also a need to resolve systemic procedures such as high taxes such that youths can have an equal playing ground to set up and run a successful business in their countries. Additionally, it was recommended that governments should refrain from sticking to the harsh punitive measures against persons who use drugs. They encouraged policymakers to consider more humane policies that support persons who use drugs as opposed to condemning and punishing them.
“It is important to revisit our traditional communal systems within African societies”, said Kwabena Kroduah. He added that by so doing, traditional rulers will play a very important role in contributing to ensure that internal security is guaranteed within their communities.
The NIPSS delegation was enlightened about the civic space monitor. This is a global platform that provides information on the state of civic space freedoms across the globe. They were encouraged to ensure that the police in Nigeria and other security stakeholders behave professionally and ensure that they protect citizens’ rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression.