National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said the Minority in parliament should commended for bringing to the attention of Ghanaians, a report by the Libyan government, which claimed that between 50 to 100 Ghanaians have joined the dreadful terrorist group, Islamic State.
According to Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is also the Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, the group’s proactiveness to uncover the story which had largely gone unnoticed deserved to be appreciated.
“I thought that the Minority would be commended that we are being diligent, and that we are following [the matter]. As ranking member on the Foreign Affairs committee, I’m not supposed to just be cocooned within the Ghanaian space and follow only what the Ghanaian media has talked about,” Ablakwa noted on Eyewitness News.
The report issued by the Libyan government, said Ghanaian migrants feature prominently as members of the terrorist group.
The report placed Ghana in the second highest category suggesting that between 50 to 100 Ghanaian migrants are frontline fighters for the so-called Islamic State in Libya.
There have been claims that the Minority had only publicized the report for political reasons, and had failed to carry out any checks to ascertain its veracity.
However, Okudzeto Ablakwa rejected these allegations, claiming that they had done background checks before making the report public, and had done so in the interest of the country.
“The Minority of the Parliament of Ghana is a responsible Minority. We would never set out to cause fear and panic, that is not our intention. You can’t be mischievous and play partisan politics with issues to do with national security and the fight against terrorism. Since the 28th of September when we picked up the report, we have proceeded to carry out the checks that a Minority can, to at least establish minimum credibility within the constraints and limitations of a Minority. I didn’t have to be in Libya to carry out the checks,” he added.
“There are many things we come across in the course of doing our work on the Foreign Affairs Committee, many things that we use the backroom diplomatic and security channels to address. But on this particular matter, to the extent that an international press conference had been held and whether the Ghanaian media talked about it or not, it was already out there. This is a matter that is already in the public domain so we set out to do some further work and to obtain the report and study it.”
Gov’t investigating report
In response to the Minority’s public comments on the matter, the Majority said on Wednesday that the government is investigating the report, and will certainly break its silence on the matter after the investigation. Ablakwa urged the government to treat the matter as a top priority, as it potentially concerned the safety of Ghanaians.
“This is a very serious matter and that is why we believe that government must accord it all the seriousness it deserves. We did conduct background checks” he insisted.