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23.04.2008 Regional News

Rumpus over Biakoye district CHIEFS BOYCOTT COMMITTEE SITTING…for not being consulted

By Florence Gbolu - Ghanaian Chronicle

The controversy surrounding the siting of the capital of the newly created Biakoye District in the Volta Region appears to be far from ending with the refusal of some chiefs and some opinion leaders to appear before a committee set to probe the matter.

Those who have refused to appear before the committee include the paramount chiefs of Worawora, Bowiri and Apesokubi as well as Mr. Alfred Kwabena Boateng of Tapa and Barima Owusu-Afari of Worawora, have stated their unpreparedness to enter into the proposed settlement upon any preconditions whatsoever. They declared their inability to attend the proposed settlement as a result of what they described as lack of consultation and transparency in the preliminary phase of the said settlement.

In a letter written to the Chief Director of the Regional Co-ordinating Council in Ho, the chiefs through their counsel, Bosompem and Associates of Bodomi chambers noted that the Paramount Chiefs of the five constituent traditional areas or their property accredited representatives ought to have been previously consulted on certain fundamental issues concerning the proposed suit of court settlement.

The lawyers pointed out that they have identified issues which included proper representation, composition or membership of the Settlement Committee and the remit of the Settlement Committee that required prior consultation. “It is clearly evident by the fact of the said Wireless Message and the contents thereof that the proposed settlement is intended to commence and proceed without having first addressed the fundamental concerns raised by our clients in our said letter”, they noted. According to them, there are five traditional areas in the proposed new Biakoye District, namely Nkonya, Tapa, Bowiri, Worawora, Apesokubi.However, they indicated that a supposed wireless message emanating from the office of the Volta Regional Minister addressed to all paramount Chiefs said the towns involved were six.

For this reason, they argued that by adding a sixth town by name 'Akposo Guan Traditional Area', which in actual fact does not exist is in effect widening the scope of controversy by promoting new controversies in the nature of chieftaincy and land disputes.In their view, these are facts that could have been easily ascertained from the office of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs at Ho
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They thus reminded all stakeholders in the matter of the purported creation of the Biakoye District that once they have duly invoked the intervention of the High Court, they cannot be lawfully compelled against their will to participate in the proposed settlement, stressing that that it will be a serious offence for anybody, including the Police, to forcibly induce or persuade them to attend the said settlement.

Subsequently, they entreated all stakeholders in the matter to desist from any willful commission likely to constitute undue interference either with the authority of the High Court or with their rights as plaintiffs to have their claim or complaint determined by the court. Members of the Committee set to settle the issue the likes of Rt. Rev. Bishop Adanuti, the Catholic Bishop of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese, Togbega Gbogbolulu, Paramount Chief of the Vakpo Traditional Area; Mr. Justice E.D. Adjabeng, retired Supreme Court Judge.The rest of the committee members include Nana Odam Siaw, Chief of Nsuta-Buem and Member of the Jasikan District Assembly, Mrs. Felicia Otchere-Darko, Chief State Attorney, George Ahiable, Assembly member and opinion leader and Mr. E. A. Gidiglo, a Deputy Director of the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council, serving as a member and Secretary to the Committee.

The Committee has been tasked with the responsibility of determining the merits or demerits of the siting the district capital at Nkonya-Ahenkro and the call to re-siting the capital of the district elsewhere.It is further tasked to resolve the issue to facilitate the inauguration of the Biakoye District as early as possible.

The seven member committee is also to propose how to ensure a peaceful co-existence of the traditional communities making up the District.It is however expected to complete its work within four weeks and submit a report to the government through the Volta Regional Minister.Meanwhile, the Committee is expected to sit today and receive a memorandum from the three traditional rulers from Worawora, Apesokubi and Bowiri Amanfrom.

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