By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Accra, June 25, GNA – Superintendent Charles Ahiamale, the District Police Commander in charge of the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, has said fertilizers being smuggled out of the country could be used for other nefarious activities.
He said such commodity could be used amongst others for explosives.
The Commander said this when some officials of the Citizens Empowerment Against Corruption (CEMAC), a civil society organization funded by Star Ghana Foundation, paid a working visit to the area.
They were there to commend him for his role leading to the detention of two articulated trucks loaded with 4,000 bags of fertilizers meant for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme being smuggled across the Paga border to Burkina Faso.
He said media reports on terrorists bombings show that fertilizer-based explosives continue to be a threat throughout the world and called on all stakeholders to watch out for anyone or groups because they could be planning terrorist attacks in the country using fertilizer, chemical or pesticide-based explosives.
“Ammonium nitrate and urea-based fertilizers pose a threat. In addition, certain pesticides can be used to cause widespread harm to people. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture needs to be very vigilant to ensure that backgrounds of companies entrusted with the distribution of fertilizer are properly checked and monitored.
This would help prevent them from conniving with terrorists to smuggle the commodity and enhance their nefarious activities”, the Commander said.
Superintendent Ahiamale said apart from the April 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, involving the use of a truck bomb with an estimated 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Investigators also estimate that with the October 2002 nightclub bombings that killed 202 people in Bali, Indonesia, the attackers used up to 220 pounds of fertilizer for the explosives.
He in this era of terrorist attacks, it is very crucial for all stakeholders to be security conscious, and called for investigations on the backgrounds of those who purchase the commodity and to report to the appropriate quarters for redress.
It would be recalled that in the year 2018 farming season, 50,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers were smuggled from Ghana to other neigbouring African counties including Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo.
Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, a member of CEMAC, who led the group to visit the District Commander, said CEMAC is a consortium made up of the Association of Church Development Project (ACDEP), the Presbyterian-Health Service North, RISE-Ghana and the Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
He said the consortium, with funding support from STAR Ghana Foundation, is implementing a project dubbed” Citizens Empowerment Against Corruption (CEMAC)” in three districts in the region, namely, Bongo, Talensi and Kasena- Nankana West.
Mr Kariama said the project which is on its second year of implementation is aimed at empowering citizens and duty bearers to curb corruption, especially government’s social intervention programmes such as the fertilizer subsidy, Livelihood empowerment Against Poverty, National Health Insurance, Free Maternal Health Delivery among others.
He said the consortium was happy with the role of the Commander and called on other District Police Commanders to emulate the example of Superintendent Ahiamale.