At SONA 2023: Don’t take our territorial integrity for granted …President warns Ghanaians


At SONA 2023: Don’t take our territorial integrity for granted …President warns Ghanaians

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the country can no longer take its ter­ritorial integrity for granted as attacks from extremist groups operating in the sub-region proves more eminent now than ever before.

According to him, the current peace being enjoyed in the country was not by happenstance, but a de­liberate policy and planning on the part of government coupled with a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of security services.

“West African sub-region was under the threat of terrorism and violent extremism and rapidly spreading south of the Sahel. I am glad to be able to report that the entire territory that makes up our nation is safe, secure and under the control of the government and peo­ple of Ghana. This might sound like a pedestrian statement with which to start a message on the State of the Nation. Unfortunately, far from it being an everyday truism, this is no longer a statement or claim that can be easily made in these times in the neighbourhood in which we are,” he stressed.

President Akufo-Addo who was delivering his penultimate State of the Nation Address (SONA) to par­liament in Accra yesterday said West Africa was under threat of terror­ism and violent extremism, rapidly spreading southwards from the Sa­hel to coast, adding that “We can no longer take the territorial integrity of our countries for granted.”

He said government continued to spend a lot of money that other­wise could have been available to spend on development to maintain the peace of the country and this was so because, it was the primary responsibility of the state towards its citizens.

“I believe we all agree that the primary responsibility of the state towards its citizens is to provide and guarantee peace and security, and we are doing just that. Since we came into office, we have ensured a significant expansion of the Armed Forces and all the other security agencies. We are paying diligent attention to their welfare as well,” he stressed.

He said government apart from dealing with the welfare needs of the security services, was also dealing with their accommodation and physical environment by way of improving them.

“For the majority of us and our everyday activities, it is the security of our streets and homes and com­munities that concern us most. We want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a safe atmosphere, and the Ghana Police Service play the lead role in this.

“Again, Government has per­formed most creditably. They are much better equipped than they have ever been, and their increased visibility on the streets goes a long way to reassure the community. The changing image of the Police is, perhaps, best exemplified by the dramatic facelift they have given to the frontage of the Police Headquarters on the Ring Road in Accra,” he reiterated.

President Akufo-Addo said the continuous existence of land and chieftaincy disputes despite gov­ernment spending money, time and energy in securing the nation was worrying and it must be the concern of all Ghanaians.

“Whilst we are spending money, time, and energy and lives keeping the country safe from external dan­gers, I must add that it is a matter of great concern that we continue to have so many chieftaincy and land disputes around the country, which tend to be breeding grounds for internal tensions and destabilisa­tion,” he said.

Citing the troubles in Bawku, he said the tragedy was not only that a thriving and dynamic town was being reduced to a wasteland of destruction and distrust, but as a country millions of cedis which could had been better spent on the development needs of the people was being used to provide security to keep brothers and sisters from killing each other.

“Mr Speaker, what should con­cern all of us and not just the peo­ple of Bawku is that, in its current state, Bawku is an alluring magnet to mischief makers and extremists operating a few kilometres across from the border. In the bid to find a lasting solution to the conflict, Government has, in the past year, undertaken a number of measures, including the establishment of a special Bawku Taskforce, and the intensification of engagements with the factions for the resolution of the chieftaincy dispute,” he stated.

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