The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged the Bawku Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee and other stakeholders in promoting peace in the area to ensure that Bawku “does not return to the dark days” of conflict.
According to the Vice President, the area had “a little over four decades ago” carved a niche for itself as one of the largest commercial and business hubs of the country but “it nearly became a shadow of itself due to persistent conflict in the area”.
Addressing a colourful durbar to mark the 32nd Annual Samanpiid Festival of the Chiefs and People of Bawku on Saturday, December 28, 2019, Dr Bawumia expressed concern about the fact that due to the conflict the state spent huge sums of money to help maintain peace at the expense of development in the area.
“It is, however, gratifying to note that Bawku is back and I will entreat the Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee to continue working together to promote lasting peace in the area”, he further stated.
The Vice President assured the people of the area that the Bolgatanga-Bawku stretch of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom road will be completed by July 2020 while the section between Bawku and Pulmakom will be completed by the end of 2020. He, therefore, entreated the people to be patient with government while it continues work on the road.
The Vice President observed that the challenges of the North were one of poverty which is underpinned by poor infrastructure and lack of development of human resources due to inadequate education.
He explained that it was for those reasons that government was rolling out various interventions to bridge the gap between the South and the North which includes the introduction of the Free Senior High School in September 2017.
Dr Bawumia noted that with enrolment going up by 69 per cent in just three years of the programme the government acknowledges that it has to build more infrastructure to cater for the increasing enrolment figures and move away from the double-track system to singletrack.
Touching on the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)he said 206,204 farmers benefitted from the fertilizer subsidy component of the PFJ in the Upper East Region which has culminated in the increases in yield in maize for instance from 46,000 metric tonnes in 2017 to 152,000 metric tonnes in 2019.
He stated that under the Rearing for Food and Jobs which is on a pilot basis, the Bawku West district is benefitting from that intervention. Dr Bawumia mentioned the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam project, the one-village-one-dam policy as other interventions introduced by the government to help transform the North. Under the One Village, One Dam (1V1D), 82 out of the 150 dams have so far been developed.
The Paramount Chief of Bawku, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II in a speech read on his behalf observed that “ever since our senseless conflict ended years ago we have based our priority on the healing of wounds and the mending of fences in broken relationships; it is now time to embark on vigorous pursuit of economic and social development of our people.”
“In the area of peace a lot has been achieved already internally, thanks to the support of the government, security services, my chiefs and the Bawku Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee”, Naba Azoka noted.
He used the occasion to commend the government on the continuation of work on the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom road saying “we have taken note of the resumption of work on the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom highway and I hope it will continue unabated to its final conclusion.”
The Vice President later made a donation of GH¢20,000 and 100 cartons of assorted drinks on behalf of the government to support the festival. Another GH¢10,000 was donated towards the Bawku Education Endowment Fund.
The Samanpiid Festival is an annual festival celebrated by the Kusasis in the Kusaug Traditional Area in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
The festival is one that is used to thank God for a successful planting and harvesting season.