The Minister of Defence, Mr Mark Woyongo, has entreated military personnel and residents of the Bawku municipality to be vigilant in order to clamp down on the proliferation of arms in the area and surrounding communities.
He said such a measure was necessary to maintain the prevailing peace in Bawku, adding, “I am happy that for some time now guns in the area have remained silent and I pray that they should forever remain silent for peace to continue to prevail.”
He made the appeal when he called on the Bawku Naba, Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, at his palace in Bawku on Saturday.
The minister, accompanied by the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Daniel Syme, also called on the leader of the Mamprusi community in Bawku, Alhaji Akalifa Bugri.
The visit formed part of his tour of some military establishments in the area, as well as to acquaint himself with the challenges facing the military personnel in the area in their quest to maintain peace.
Mr Woyongo pointed out that there was the need for the military to scrutinise all vehicles entering and coming out of Bawku, adding that the residents must themselves be “security conscious and report all suspicious characters and movements to the security forces for thorough investigations”.
According to the minister, the proliferation of arms across borders in the West African sub-region, as well as in the country, is a wake-up call on the security agencies in the area to be alert to maintain the prevailing peace in Bawku.
“In fact, this mad rush for arms across borders must be nipped in the bud to maintain the prevailing peace in Bawku,” he said. Bawku conflict
The minister observed that if all parties in the conflict would remain committed to the peace process and dialogue for the mutual benefit of the residents, the development of the area would go on rapidly.
He commended the military personnel for the huge sacrifices they had made over the years to restore peace in the area.
Mr Woyongo entreated chiefs in the three regions of Northern Ghana to come together to find ways of resolving the numerous chieftaincy and land disputes in the three regions.
“Our greatest enemies are poverty and underdevelopment and so we in the north must think about how best to address those challenges, else posterity will not forgive us,” he observed. Lift ban on motor riding
The Bawku Naba, for his part, entreated the government to consider lifting the ban on motor riding in the area to boost commercial activities.
“For me, I think we have passed that stage in the conflict where people would use the riding of motors to foment trouble; residents are now aware that conflict has negative implications for the area,” the chief noted.
Responding to the appeal, Mr Woyongo stated that intelligence reports indicated that the time was not yet ripe for the lifting of the ban on motor riding in the area.
He said if the Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee recommended that all parties in the Bawku conflict were satisfied with the peace process, then the government would not hesitate to lift the ban on motor riding.
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