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06.05.2008 Tragedy

Conflicts displace over 5,000 people…in three northern regions

By Mashudu Ankiilu Kunateh - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Executive Director of the Africa Peace Building Club, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Salam Ramani, has disclosed that more than 5,000 people have been displaced, in the three northern regions, as a result of conflicts, since the colonial era. These conflicts have led to disruptions in the lives of the people, loss of properties and hatred among the people.

Mr. Ramani said this, at a meeting with staff of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, who hail from the three northern regions, in Accra.

He observed that citizens of the three northern regions would only experience development and prosperity, if they start to be more committed to peace, involve themselves in peace-building activities, and above all, commit themselves to road maps to peace. This would help reduce conflicts in the northern parts of the country.

Mr. Ramani called on the government, traditional authorities and NGOs, to double their peace-building capacities to help bring lasting peace to the area, as he put it, no nation can develop without peace.

He appealed to citizens of northern descent, to channel their resources to the sustainable peace and development of their regions, because no other person would go there to unlock northern Ghana for development.

“Our traditional authorities should function effectively, with seriousness as counselors to all the people, both natives and visitors, give the needed advice in a polite and peaceful manner, so that unity and trust will prevail,” Mr. Ramani said.

He noted that the chiefs and communities leaders have the responsibility to unite and reconcile community members, who have any form of misunderstanding among them, so that all members would feel involved in peace activities, and community development. That would prevent destructive conflicts, and rather transform conflict zones into business friendly environments, for investors to feel comfortable and do business.

He encouraged northerners, in southern Ghana, to support their relations back home, by investing in agriculture, education, health, and ventures to create jobs for the people to alleviation them from poverty.

Mrs. Paula Gbireh, a Senior Matron at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, used the occasion to appeal to Ghanaians to desist from taking excessive alcohol, and other hard drugs, since these are inimical to the socio-economic development of the country.

Gbireh, who welcomed the initiative of forming an association, by people from the three northern regions, asked northerners to comport themselves, so that people would also respect them.

The Acting General Secretary of the Korle-Bu Northern Association, Abu-Jajah Ibrahim, and Tahiru Ayobi, a staff at the Medical Records Department of the hospital, called on Ghanaians to pay attention to the education of their children, saying education was the lifeblood of society.

They announced that plans were at foot to sponsor members of the association, to further their studies, and also support brilliant, but needy students from some deprived schools in Ghana, particularly northern Ghana.

The youth should give their support, and rally behind their leaders in the communities, respect and help them when the need arises. They should always try to attend peace-building and leadership cultivation programmes, any time they get the opportunity.

As youth “We have a lot to contribute to prevention of conflicts in our communities, and the nation as a whole. We should organize ourselves into groups, as community monitors, and report early warning signs to the authorities, for prompt actions,” they appealed.

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