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08.05.2009 Regional News

Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee Formed At Bawku

By Ibrahim A. Mohammed, Bawku -
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AN Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee (IEPC) comprising Kusasis and Mamprusis was inaugurated on Tuesday, at Bawku to work towards the restoration of lasting peace in Bawku and to determine when the curfew in the municipality should be lifted. The 10-Member Committee made up of five members from each of the feuding tribes, has Prtrick Adakudugu, Thomas Abilla, Richard Ayambilla, Chief Adam Boko and Madam Grace Nkaw, representing the Kusasis.

The Mamprusis are represented by Mohammed Tahiru Nambe Alhaji Ibrahim Kobilla, David Moli Belko, Bashiru Salifu and Ziblim Adam.

The IEPC is charged with the responsibility to open up genuine, constructive and effective dialogue among all people of Bawku, especially the major protagonists in the conflict.

It is also to help educate the general public on the need for peaceful co-existence, placing emphasis on 'commonalities” that unite the people instead of the insignificant  differences dividing them.

Its terms of reference included helping to resolve putty squabbles and delinking them from ethnicity.

The members are expected to educate all to appreciate the need to differentiate criminal acts and activities from those related to the conflict and to allow the law to take its natural course.

Inaugurating the Committee, Mr Mark Woyongo, condemned last Thursday April 30 shooting incident at the Bawku Cattle Market and described it “as needless and very irresponsible” on the part of the perpetrators and their accomplices.

“I want to believe that these are acts of the few miscreants and men of dubious characters who are outnumbered by we the genuine peace lovers,” he stressed.

He stated that the recovery of the stolen cattle by the security agencies buttressed his assertion and called on the committee not to be discouraged by these damnable acts but to preserve in the peace effort.

Mr Woyongo expressed concern about the fact that people in the North has misplaced priorities because they are engaged in conflicts which cannot in matters that eliminate their abject poverty or reduce it.

He said it was sad that some people rather devote their energies and scarce resources to the acquisition of deadly weapons to destroy lives and life-long properties badly needed for sustenance.

The Regional Minister said in the wake of all these, government and the Assembly would be compelled to re-direct scarce development resources to manage and maintain peace and order to the detriment of the development of the area.

To worsen an already bad situation, the nation's development partners who obviously felt unsafe working in a volatile and risky environment also abandon the people to their fate, he said.

According to them, both the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and the Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) have absolute confidence in the ability of the committee to meet the challenge ahead of it.

Mr Wongo was optimistic that since they loved Bawku and for that matter Ghana, they would not let the people down but prove equal to the task ahead of it.

He therefore appealed to the members to be sincere, honest and committed to the cause of peace in Bawku.

Mr Belko, on behalf of the Mamprusi said they were impressed with the way the present government was committed to resolving the conflict in Bawku and commended it for the effort so far.

He assured the Regional Minister that they would work seriously as a team to ensure that a lasting peace was restored in Bawku.

Mr Thomas Abilla, on behalf of the Kusasis stressed the need for the introduction of social activities such as football matches among others between the Kusasis and Mamprusis to create the impression among their peoples that they are now one people.

According to him, such social interactions could help accelerate the restoration of peace to the place.

The Regional Minister and his entourage, later paid a courtesy call on Naba Abugrago Asigri Azoka II, paramount Chief of the Bawku Traditional Area and appealed to the Bawku Naba to help find a lasting peace in the Municipality.

According to him, government was committed to finding a lasting peace in Bawku within its first four years.

The Bawku Naba, on his part, pledged to support the committee in its work so as to achieve the desire objectives for setting it up.

Mr Shaibu Abubakar, Programme Manager of Belim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA), a locally-based NGO would moderate the committee's deliberations.

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