The National Peace Council has urged the various factions involved in the chieftaincy conflict in Bawku to lay down their arms and embrace peace to protect lives, and property and ensure sustained development.
Reverend Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, said the reemergence of the conflict had not only led to the death of many people and the destruction of property but had also disrupted social and economic activities in the area, creating poverty.
He said the situation was retarding development including denying people access to education, health and other social services and called on the stakeholders involved to use dialogue to reach a common ground of understanding for peace to be restored.
Reverend Dr Adu-Gyamfi made the call when he led the Governing Board of the National Peace Council to separately meet Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, Paramount Chief of the Bawku Traditional Area at Bawku, and the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahama Sheriga, the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area at Nalerigu in the North East Region.
The meeting was to listen to the concerns of the people and mediate to find a lasting solution to the issue to ensure peaceful coexistence and development.
Reverend Adu-Gyamfi regretted how the conflict had brought to a standstill many activities, driving away investors and development and creating fear among the people.
“Currently, hospitals and schools are closed, marketplaces have become a challenge and businesses are not running as they were. We need peace in the area for all avenues to reopen to go about their normal duties.
“So, we are appealing to you, especially the young ones, please lay down the arms and let us talk and have peace in the area,” he appealed.
Mr Patrick Adakudugu, Secretary to the Bawku Naba who spoke to the media on his behalf, commended the National Peace Council for the move to resolve the conflict and reiterated his commitment to ensuring peace in the area for accelerated development.
However, he said, the disregard for the Supreme Court ruling and the government’s endorsement confirming him as the paramount Chief of the area by some people, was one of the major issues he was not happy about.
“I, with the support of the security personnel tried to maintain peace in the area because as a Chief you need people to govern and you cannot ask them to go and die,” he said.
He indicated some of the media houses in the area were also fueling the conflict by giving the platform to people to insult various factions engaged in the conflict.
On the part of the Nayiri, Mr Peter Wuni Baaga, Mamprugu Youth Leader, who spoke on his behalf noted that, if the government had implemented the recommendations of the Peace Council Committee of 2007 and 2008, it would have curbed further reoccurrence of conflict.
The Nayiri said he was committed to finding a lasting solution to the conflict.
Since November 2021, the Bawku Chieftaincy Conflict reemerged resulting in the killing of more than 50 people, injuring many and destroying property, thereby bringing socioeconomic activities to a standstill.
Currently, a curfew is enforced from 2000 hours to 0500 hours and a ban has also been placed on motorbike riding and wearing of smocks within Bawku Township and its environs.
Meanwhile, the government, through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, in an earlier statement noted that the Chieftaincy disagreement was settled by the Supreme Court in 2003 and urged all parties to respect the ruling.