North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said that terrorists across the globe want to make this year a terror year for everybody.
According to him, the rate at which terrorist activities are happening around the world, especially in Europe, is worrying, a situation that must awaken Ghanaian security agencies to up their game.
Contributing to a statement on the floor of parliament on the ‘Global Fight against Terrorism’ on Wednesday June 14, he said: “Mr Speaker, depraved terrorists are determined to make 2017 another year of senseless terror. Only last week, the Parliament and Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran were attacked, [leaving] 17 people killed and…52 injured. Before this, Britain came under another attack in as many months when terrorists armed with a van and knives inflicted mindless horror on pedestrians on London Bridge and the Borough Market, leaving eight dead and 48 injured.
“This happened at a time Britain and the world [were] yet to recover from the shock of the Manchester Arena bombing that claimed the lives of 22 persons and injuring 116 concert goers, most of whom were teenagers. Preceding this was the vehicle and stabbing attack at Westminster that left five dead and 49 injured. Earlier in April, Russia was at the mercy of a suicide bomber who blew up Saint Petersburg Metro on the day Vladimir Putin was due to visit the city, killing 16 people and injuring 64.
“Mr. Speaker, other nations such as the United States of America, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Australia, Colombia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, and Libya have not been spared this evil visitation. Indeed, thus far, in 2017 alone, Wikipedia’s tracking of terrorist attacks on its List of Terrorist Incidents concludes as follows: January recorded a total of 156 incidents, February recorded a total of 117 incidents, March recorded a total of 106 incidents, April recorded a total of 99 incidents, May recorded a total of 152 incidents with June so far recording 47 incidents.”
He added: “In essence, 2017 has so far recorded a scaringly mind-boggling 677 terrorist incidents and we are only in the middle of the year. Without a scintilla of doubt, the global fight against terror must engage the attention and effort of all of mankind including this Parliament. An attack on any citizen of the world and on any nation must equally be an attack on us. We share a common humanity and these incidents diminish humanity in its universality. As Martin Luther King, Jnr. aptly puts it, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. In any case, it ought not to be lost on us that the effects of this terror jamboree even when we are not directly victims impacts adversely on our daily lives. The downright humiliation we go through at airport checkpoints when travelling since 9/11 is a clear example. The invasion of our privacy by governments and the global intelligence community has left all of us virtually naked in the current scheme of things.
“Certainly, the terrorism fever has also led to a troubling condition of general suspicion and mistrust for one another. The human race has never been so mistrustful of other nations, other religions and other ideologies perhaps even more now than the cold war era.
The Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee further told Parliament: “Mr Speaker, there is the temptation to assume that because Ghana has so far escaped unscathed, it may not be a target of terrorist organisations and therefore we may opt for a business as usual approach. Nothing can be more reckless and dangerous to our very existence. The reality is that modern terrorism is a messy free-for-all without boundaries and limitations and no country or nationality stands immune.
“This House must ensure that it offers all the assistance we can marshal to support all three arms of government in protecting our territorial integrity and guaranteeing safety of all Ghanaian lives.”
Adding his voice to this statement also on the floor of the House, the Minister for Defence and MP for Bimbilla called on Ghanaian parents to monitor their children closely on who they associate with on social media. According to him, some of these terrorist groups use social media to lure unsuspecting people into their activities, a situation which requires vigilance on the part of Ghanaian parents.
He said: “Somebody sits in Iraq and can recruit an individual in Ghana just by the mere fact that he [has] WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever that the new media can provide. And so parents should be very careful of how today they monitor their young people and their children.
“You should monitor what your child does on a daily basis, whether in school, outside school and wherever they go. This is not the time that we should just allow them to go unmonitored. We should monitor them and whatever activities that they go through.
He added: “We need to be very careful with the language we use in discussing this topic (terrorism) so that we don’t create enemies for ourselves.”