By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Council– Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged the Military High Command to, as a matter of urgency, formulate the necessary regulations, for the healthy use of social media by military personnel.
Speaking at the Final Parade to round off the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the Ghana Navy, which came off at the Harry Seshie Square, Sekondi Naval Base, Western Naval Command (WNC), on Friday, 11th October, 2019, His Excellency (HE) Alhaji Bawumia, said that as disciplined officers and soldiers, they should not allow themselves to be drawn into wrongful category of social media users.
The Vice President who spared not a few moments on the issue, stated that “the negative side effects of technology, with particular focus on social media, has to do with its potential for spreading negativity, which can undermine organizational, societal and national cohesion and stability and it is unfortunate that some of you have unwittingly, been dragged into its use for negative purposes”.
HE Dr Bawumia, however, advised personnel of the military to be mindful and circumspect in the use of social media, in a manner consistent with their Code of Service Discipline, and to continuously and consistently intensify awareness and education of the young officers and sailors, through both formal and informal channels, on the proper use of social media, as well as its negative side-effects.
On the security of the nation, Veep Dr Bawumia, extolled the Ghana Navy for managing to insulate the country’s coast against sea-borne invasion, and also contributing significantly to the socio-economic development, by effectively maintaining a relatively secure maritime domain, that has spurred on vigorous socio-economic activity by sea.
Citing sporadic terror attacks in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso, HE Dr Bawumia stated that Ghana cannot sit aloof and pretend that she is immune to such happenings, more so, when some of the incidents keep getting closer to the northern borders, and thus called for urgency in collective action by all Ghanaians, to prevent such attacks in the country and to mitigate their impact, should they occur.
Dr Bawumia informed of efforts by Government to address technical challenges faced by Ghana Navy Ships (GNS), the acquisition of two Offshore Patrol Vessels with helicopter decks and the putting up of both residential and office accommodation for the Navy.
The fantastic “Sea Lords” parade, did not fail to excite as various spectacular drills were exhibited by 10 contingents of 263 Officers and Ratings, with other naval specialized units, demonstrating their know-how, to the ecstatic admiration of guests and all present.
The climaxing retinue, also saw a number of awards presented to naval personnel – some posthumously, though – for various heroic roles played in acquiring dignity and honour to the marine military kinsfolk.
Twelve (12) personnel of GNS YOGAGA, that sailed the ship from Monrovia to Freetown, after the ship was bombed by rebels and 4 sailors died, in the Liberian Civil War, were honoured; Cdr Sampa Nuno – (Captain), Lieutenant (Lt) (GN) Ankamah – (GO), Sub/Lieutenant (S/Lt) Apeadu – (WKO), S/Lt. Okrah-Boateng – (MEO) deceased.
Others were Chief Petty Officer Class 1 (CPO1) Aziz Farouk (WLA), CPO1 Esson Alfred – (EA) –deceased, CPO1 Morgan (Coxswain), CPO2 Amponsah – (EM) – deceased, Petty Officer Class 1 (PO1) Nakorto – (EM) USA, Leading Seaman (L/S) Sarfo Kantanka – (EM), L/S Adusei – (LM) deceased, and L/S Osabutey – (CHEF) deceased.
The next set of awards went to GNS Blika boat crew that overpowered pirates on board MV MARIAM, in January 2015, arrested and escorted them to harbor, in a very daring operation. They were led by the Captain of the ship – Lt/Cdr Duvor and an award to Lt (GN) Theophilus Stanley Brocke – Officer-In-Charge, Navy Band – for composing the ever inspiring Ghana Navy Anthem.
The anniversary, themed “Celebrating Sixty Years of Naval Excellence: Securing the Maritime Domain for National Development”, was launched on Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, celebrated with an International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference, and brought together Chiefs of navies in the sub-region and other international allied countries, and many maritime stakeholders, local and international.
The history of the Navy, which has been well chronicled in a book titled “The History of the Ghana Navy; A case for a credible naval force for national development”, edited by Cdre Issah Yakubu, Naval Lieutenant Amponsah-Duodu and Lawyer Issah Adams, and Published by Digi Books, was launched.
There also was a sod cutting ceremony for the construction of 2 sixty-unit accommodation blocks to be named “Navy @ 60 Quarters”, one to be constructed at the WNC and the other at the newly established Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), at Sogakope, Volta Region.
Additionally, there were many other activities such as family days, medical outreaches, income generating skills training and other humanitarian activities, which were all climaxed with a religious parade on the 13th of October, 2019.
The Ghana Navy was formally established by an ACT of Parliament on Wednesday, 29th July 1959, with the mandate to protect the country from any seaward aggression and support the implementation of government policies in the maritime domain.
Dignitaries present at the parade were the Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament for Bimbilla – Dominic Nitiwul, the Western Regional Minister – Kobby Okyere-Darko Mensah, the Chief of the Defence Staff – Lt Gen OB Akwa, Chief of the Naval Staff – Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson, and Nana Kobina Nketsia V – Paramount Chief of Essikado.