The youth of Gonja throughout the country have called on their traditional leaders to ensure judicious management of natural resources in the area.
According to the youth, Gonjaland, in the Northern Region of Ghana, with a total land mass of about 36,783 square kilometers, is faced with the stark reality of increased exploitation of its natural resources through corruption and mismanagement.
“Gonjaland is faced with the stark reality of increased exploitation of the forest and wildlife resources for national development. This is coupled with the illegal and brutal assault on the ever-dwindling resource. The sustained and uncontrolled extraction of these resources has resulted in the ever-dwindling of the resource base,” said a wildlife officer, Ali Mahama, at a symposium organized by the Gonjaland Youth Association of Ghana.
The symposium formed part of activities to mark the association’s upcoming 39th Congress billed to take place at Buipe under the theme: “Ensuring the Effective Management of Natural Resources in Gonjaland: The Role of the Gonjaland Youth Association.”
According to Mr Mahama, if the current trend was not reversed, the region could completely run out of its resources in the near future and that that might increase the level of poverty in the already poverty-striken Gonjaland.
“If the trend is not reversed, we are likely to reach a stage of non-recovery. This will prove very fatal to all Gonjas,” he warned.
One of the resource persons for the symposium held in Accra on Saturday, Alhaji Sadiq Bakari Nyari, called for vigorous reconstruction of the traditional scheme of running the Gonjaland in matters of land resource management to ensure inclusiveness and transparency
According to him, there had been lack of inclusiveness and transparency in the management of land resources in the area and that lack of these elements mentioned above had adversely affected the progress of the region.
“Traditional leadership should take the lead to forging collaboration with the district assemblies to ensure land use planning guide in any land allocation process,” he urged, and added, “Establish transparent and inclusive customary land secretariat that will serve as the main vehicle for guiding land management processes, the composition of which must reflect the traditional administrative system.’
President of the Gonjaland Youth Association, Alhassan Dramani, in his welcome remarks, said the congress would serve as a platform for Gonja youth to brainstorm on how to effectively harness the resources of their land for development.
Gonjaland has two National Parks – Mole and Bui – and about four natural forest reserves namely, Scarp, Yakomba, Yirada and Kenikeni. The region, with a population of about 500,000, is also blessed with mineral resources.
Meanwhile, Buipewura, Abdulai Jinapor, has challenged the youth of the area to spearhead the development of the Northern Region.
BY Melvin Tarlue
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