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General News | Jan 26, 2005

Northern Region potentials not yet realised - Saddique

GNA

Accra, Jan. 26, GNA - Mr. Boniface Saddique Abu-Bakar, Northern Regional Minister designate said he would ensure that tourism and investments potentials of the Northern Region is realised to help reduce poverty and enhance development.

He said the tourist potential of the Northern Region was yet to be tapped because much effort had not been made to attract investors to the area due to the perception that the region is hostile.

Mr. Saddique Abu-Bakar was answering questions during his vetting by the Appointments Committee for the position of the Northern Regional Minister.

"My predecessor was able to maintain some level of peace and stability and when I get the nod I will continue to maintain the peace, which is vital and essential for the realisation of the potential of my region."

The Minister-designate noted that the three Northern Regions are the poorest in the country, but nothing has been done about it and "I intend working with everyone irrespective of his political affiliation to improve the living conditions of my people."

"I am prepared to work with both the Andani's and the Abudu's, or whether you are NPP or NDC because I will be a Minister for the people and seek their interest."

Mr. Saddique Abu-Bakar said he would embark on an aggressive educational and agricultural programme in the region since most of the problems stem from the fact that illiteracy and poverty abound.

He said he would also ensure the construction of "economic roads" such as the Bole-Bamboi road and other infrastructure development. On Security, Mr. Saddique Abu-Bakar said his immediate plan was to get the security forces to form a rapid response team to check the proliferation of arms in the Northern Region, which has contributed to the numerous conflict that occur from time to time.

The security agencies must be well equipped to "to nib in the bud" any problem that may arise before it escalates. "It would be proper also if our learned brothers from the North come together as an example for the youth to follow instead of inflaming volatile situations."

He mentioned chieftaincy, land and religion as some of major causes of conflict in the North, adding, "I will need the support of the chiefs as well as the youth of every tribe to solve the problems."

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