A Retired Captain of the Ghana Armed Forces, Budu Sam Koomson has warned that the challenges confronting the country, including the rising youth unemployment and corruption, could lead to the springing up of terrorist groups.
According to him, a lot of people, especially the youth, are increasingly losing due to government’s inability to address the numerous challenges, particularly the energy crisis, which has crippled businesses, leading to redundancies and retrenchment.
He stated that the current situation is very fluid and dangerous, and urged government to take urgent steps to address the challenges before the unexpected happens.
Speaking in an interview, Captain Koomson said, “When you have between 50% and 60% of the unemployed being the youth, who are between 24 and 35, it’s a huge risk.”
He said, “It will get to a stage when they look left, when they look right and behind and there is no hope; they might give up and begin to fight for survival, and instead of being an asset for development, they will become a weapon for destruction.
“I keep looking at the ages of the so-called armed robbers when they are caught. Have you seen persons 45 years and above being an armed robber these days? Or have you seen a 60-year-old pensioner going to be an armed robber? They are all young people, and you think they were born criminals?” the retired soldier quizzed.
Ghanaians were recently sent panicking when it emerged that a 25-year-old graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Nazir Nortei Alema, had gone to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
Touching on the issue, Captain Koomson said: “We must be careful, if not, we might be creating the conditions that would allow these people (referring to ISIS) to take a step in here.”
Asked whether he was surprised by Nazir Nortei Alema’s decision to join ISIS, Caption Koomson, who could not state his position, stated that, “We thank God that he has gone to join it outside …and he did not behave like a Robin Hood in Ghana …But what about a Robin Hood starts in Ghana and pledges allegiance…Boko Haram started long before ISIS…but now they have pledged allegiance to ISIS. It raises the whole equation to a different level. We’re not an island, so we should be careful,” Captain Koomson noted.
“If anything should happen to us, it’s our fault, not global trends. We have become too materialistic… too corrupt in this country…corruption in all levels. We have lost our ways. We have lost our values,” he observed.
Captain Koomson, who accused government of deliberately and criminally mismanaging the country’s economy, leading to Ghana returning to the IMF for a bailout, warned government not to take Ghanaians for granted.
“I am saying that we are blessed in our corner of the world that we have peace and stability … But I say don’t twist the tail of a lion for too long…something could give in,” Captain Koomson warned.
“We have to sit up and plan well. Ghana has no business being poor,” he added.
Captain Koomson said he had begun researching into conditions that breed terrorism due to the growing level of terrorism in Africa and other parts of the world.
Touching on the possibility of civil unrest, he said he keeps getting worried about the possibility of “spring” happening in Ghana due to the many challenges confronting the country, including the spate of agitations on the labour front.
“If I look around and see that some springs are happening somewhere, I get worried” because “the springs are getting closer home.”
“When the people in Burkina Faso said enough is enough, what happened to Campaoré?” he asked.
He charged the Mahama administration to sit up and take pragmatic measures to resolve the challenges facing the country.