Bolgatanga, March 14, GNA - Mr Boniface Gambila, the Upper East Regional Minister, has urged the chiefs and people of the region to put aside their differences and rally behind the government to bring relief to the rural communities.
He said the people of the three northern regions have no other enemy than poverty and that they could only overcome poverty and to improve their living conditions if they work in unison and allow peace to prevail.
Mr Gambila made the call when he paid courtesy calls on a number of paramount chiefs in the region.
Areas visited so far include Tongo, Navrongo, Kologo, Naaga, Sandema, Mirigu, Paga and Sirigu.
The Regional Minister urged chiefs to show interest in and acquaint themselves with important developments around them, to enable them to help government undertake effective planning.
At Sandema, Mr Gambila said the long reign of the Sandem-Nab Ayieta Azantilow was characterized by tranquillity, as the Builsa area was one of the havens of peace in the region.
"I hope, therefore, to learn from your wisdom and enjoy the benefit of your guidance," he added.
Nab Azantilow advised the Regional Minister to work in humility and pledged his support and that of his people to the Regional Minister. The Paga Pio, Pe Charles Awampaga 11 expressed concern about the decline of education in the north and attributed it to the loss of control by parents over their children.
"Videos, dances and other social events are taking children away from their books at night," he said and called on parents to reinforce discipline in their homes.
At Kologo in the Kassena-Nankana District, the Paramount Chief of the area, Naba Simon Ayidana Asobayire, thanked President John Agyekum Kufuor for the recent construction of a school and a clinic in the community.
He requested for a senior secondary school, a girls' vocational centre and poles for the extension of electricity to the area. The Regent of the Mirigu Traditional Area, Roger Atasige Azoya, appealed to the government to create a new district in that part of the Chiana-Paga area to speed up development.
He also requested for the establishment of a police post in his traditional area, saying it was quite distant from Navrongo where the only police station is located.
Without exception, all the Paramount Chiefs visited raised common concerns with regard to the provision of access roads, culverts, boreholes, telephone facilities and dams.
Responding, Mr. Gambila said poverty reduction strategies in the region could succeed only if there were additional water sources for dry season gardening to supplement rain-fed agriculture. He said he had taken note of the chiefs' concerns and would pass them on to the relevant quarters for consideration. 14 March 05