The National Peace Council (NPC) is rallying Ghanaians to make a conscious effort to promote peace to sustain the country’s democracy and socio-economic development.
The Council believes the need for peace in Ghana had never been more important as the country’s socio-economic systems seemed unable to respond effectively to emerging conflicts in a more complex manner.
Bishop Ben Nuhu Abubakar, the Acting Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Council, said the youth were becoming increasingly agitated over limited opportunities and the current economic hardship.
He was addressing a two-day workshop in Kumasi for selected tertiary student leaders from Ashanti, Bono, and Eastern regions on conflict prevention and violent extremism.
Funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the workshop sought to build the capacity and equip participants with knowledge and skills on peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution, using a non-violent approach.
Bishop Abubakar said increases in fuel and food prices as a result of spillover external effects, coupled with coup d’état in the Sub-Region, underlined the need to take proactive steps to forestall possible violence.
He said conflict remained an inevitable phenomenon in every society, but the most important measure was for mechanisms and peace infrastructure to be put in place to manage and prevent them from escalating into violence.
The workshop, therefore, was to expose the students to these mechanisms to become agents of peace in tertiary institutions.
“In our region we are bedeviled with issues of youth clashes, demonstrations, chieftaincy conflict, land resource conflict in mining areas, and transnational crimes, among others,” he said.
Bishop Abubakar said it was disheartening that most of the youth clashes happened in various tertiary institutions with majority of perpetrators and victims being the youth and students.
He said Ghana was currently ranked second in the global peace index in Africa and 40th most peaceful country in the global ranking of 163 countries, a drop of two places from 38th in 2021.
“The looming threat of terrorism in the West Africa Sub-Region, coupled with other security challenges faced in the country, is an indication… for every individual to help sustain government’s efforts to mitigate existing and emerging threats to our peace and security,” he said.
Madam Janet Sarney Kumah, the Director for Capacity Building, NPC, said student leaders had roles to play in preserving the peace and stability of the country.
She said building the capacity of student leadership would not only promote peaceful coexistence on campuses but also on the larger society because they could potentially take up leadership positions beyond their stay in school.