He said the region was faced with the threat of violent extremism and insurgencies, following the activities of those groups in neighboring countries, including Burkina Faso, even close to the borders of Ghana in the Upper West Region.
He cited the influx of about 1,500 Burkina Faso nationals into border communities in the Sissala West and Lambussie Districts about a week ago over the fear of terrorist attacks on their communities as a clarion call on the Council to double its efforts in curbing acts that could fuel those insurgencies in the region.
The 13-member Council comprised representatives from the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, religious groups, and the Regional Coordinating Council among others, with Venerable Moses Z. Banungwiir as the chairman.
The members were sworn into office by His Lordship Justice Abdul Yussif Asibey, the Supervising High Court Judge, Wa.
Dr. Salih stressed the need for the Council to play its conflict prevention and resolution role effectively and efficiently “in ensuring the region’s safety and peace through activities that promoted trust, tolerance, goodwill, and reconciliation among people and between communities.”
“Regional Peace Councils are essential in conflict resolution in the regions since most conflicts are local, thus, requiring local humans and materials to promptly respond to the conflicts,” he added.
He also called on the Council to work with the Municipal and District Assemblies in the region to solve the myriad of problems, especially the menace of chieftaincy and land disputes, and illegal mining activities in the region.
“The Council must establish and strengthen collaboration with security agencies, government institutions, traditional authorities, Civil Society Organisations, and faith-based organizations to facilitate the sustainable development and peace in the region,” the minister said.
Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih, a National Peace Council (NPC) Board Member, who witnessed the inauguration of the newly constituted Upper West Regional Peace Council, stressed the crucial role of the Council in peaceful conflict resolution, citing 20 conflict hotspots in the region currently which needed to be resolved.
He said the NPC Act of 2011 (Act 818) enjoined the Council to, among other things, “facilitate and develop mechanisms to prevent, manage, resolve and build sustainable peace in the county.”
He said the increasing youth agitation over limited opportunities and political vigilantism had posed a serious threat of Violent Extremism to Ghana and called on the members of the Regional Peace Council to exhibit commitment and dedication in tackling those issues.
Venerable Moses Z. Banungwiir, the Chairman of the Upper West Regional Peace Council, said the Council members would effectively collaborate with the stakeholders and institutions to ensure peace in the region.