President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has emphasized government’s strong commitment to strengthening and fortifying the country’s northern borders and points of entry against the threats of terrorism and violent extremism.
According to the President, “We can’t be complacent and take that for granted. We need all of us to understand that the best way of making sure that our country continues to be at peace, so that we can get on with resolving the challenges of development and elimination of poverty, which is our main concern, will be undermined if we go to sleep on this terrorist matter.”
In an interview on Radio Upper West on Monday, 22nd August 2022, at the start of his working visit to the Upper West Region, President Akufo-Addo stated that Government is taking “exceptional measures, measures that have not been taken before”, to secure the country’s borders.
“We created 3 forward operating bases in the Upper West Region alone, in the Jirapa, Hamile and in Tumu. There is a strong possibility that Gwolu and Wechiau, at some stage, will also be brought on board,” he added.
The President noted that the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, being undertaken by National Security, has caught the imagination of people.
“You can’t possibly deal with threats to security, whether from terrorists or saboteurs, if you don’t have the cooperation of the civilian population. The people who are responsible for the outrage they didn’t come from Mars, let me say once again, they come from within, they have to be part of that community. So, if those in the community are themselves sufficiently sensitised about their presence and the dangers they pose, that becomes the best form of intelligence, and it, therefore, becomes the conduit for you to be able to act decisively,” President Akufo-Addo added.
Retooling the Military
In terms of manpower expansion, the Armed Forces has recruited and trained some three thousand (3,000) soldiers between 2017 and 2020. It has, since 2021, embarked on accelerated nationwide recruitment and training to churn out a minimum of four thousand (4,000) officers and soldiers annually until 2024, in order to beef up the strength of our Armed Forces to optimal levels.
Thus, a minimum of two thousand (2,000) recruits are trained in recruit training schools of the three (3) Services every six months, whilst the strength of officer cadets enlisted in recent times has been increased exponentially since 2020.
As part of efforts to enhance operational capability, combat efficiency and logistics capacity of the Armed Forces, measures have been put in place in furtherance of restructuring and retooling.
The Akufo-Addo Government has created additional bases, specialised units and brigades, with the acquisition of requisite equipment, to enhance operations particularly along Ghana’s northern frontiers. This expansion has already seen the creation and establishment of the Army Special Operations Brigade, Armoured Brigade, Signal Brigade, and two (2) Mechanised Battalions, which are deployed in the Upper West and Upper East Regions.
The construction and equipping of fifteen (15) Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) across our northern frontiers for the Armed Forces for the Northern Border Project are also ongoing. These FOBs include FOB Dollar Power, FOB Hamile, FOB Tumu, FOB Navrongo, FOBBawku, FOB Nalerigu, FOB Bunkpurugu, FOB Saboba, FOB Bimbilla, FOB Damongo, FOB Bole, FOB Jirapa, Forward Logistics Base at Wa, Forward Logistics Base at Bolgatanga and Main Logistics Base at Tamale.
A number of combat vehicles, equipment and weaponry, comprising about one hundred and sixty three (163) Armoured Personnel Carriers and other combat vehicles, trucks and general vehicles, surveillance and communication equipment, including optical and critical mass of night vision equipment, as well as weapons, ammunitions and body armour, have been acquired to enhance intelligence acquisition, offer better protection, improve mobility and fire power for troops on internal security operations, including those deployed to the northern frontiers.
Government also continues to equip the Navy with Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Patrol Boats to enhance counter piracy and other maritime threat operations, and protect our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Towards enhancing the capability of the Navy, President Akufo-Addo recently commissioned four (4) fast patrol boats, named VOLTA, PRA, ANKOBRA and DENSU, to protect our maritime resources, especially our offshore Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facilities.
In the same vein, plans are in the offing by the Akufo-Addo Government to procure, for the Air Force, six (6) L-39 Ground Fighter Aircrafts, two (2) additional Ground Power Units, assorted aircrafts comprising Casa C2A5 Maritime Patrol Aircrafts, Mi-71SH Military Airlift Helicopters, VIP Transport Helicopters (H-225) and four (4) H-125 Reconnaissance Light Attack helicopters, to support the operations of the Special Forces.
“All these investments are to ensure that the Armed Forces are well equipped and motivated to deliver on their primary mandate of safeguarding the peace, integrity and security of the nation, and maintaining Ghana’s contribution to international peace and security,” the President added.