Bimbilla alive after Supreme Court ruling

BY: Mohammed Fugu
Some residents going about their activities in the town
Some residents going about their activities in the town

Social and economic activities are picking up in Bimbilla in the Nanumba North Municipality in the Northern Region barely five months after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling over a decade-long chieftaincy dispute in the area.

 The restoration of calm to the town is encouraging workers and investors, especially non-indigenes who were said to have fled the area following the recurrent chieftaincy disturbances, to return to business.

Schools that were closed down in the peak of the disturbances have been reopened with teachers and pupils going about their academic activities peacefully.

A visit by this reporter to the town saw shop owners cashing in on a typical market day with the usual criss-crossing of motorbikes, tricycles and vehicles on the streets of the once ‘ghost town.’

This is despite the existing curfew on the Bimbilla close.


 Close to a decade now, the Interior Ministry has been renewing the curfew in the area to ensure peace and security in the face of the tension that existed following the internecine conflicts. The curfew hours are from 6:00p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Appeal

According to some residents, even though they welcomed the outcome of the recent court ruling which had since brought about some relative peace to the area, they were still struggling to make a living and, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Interior to review the curfew hours to enable them to trade into the night.

Mr Fusheini Baasit, a kebab seller, said “for now everybody is happy that the town is calm because previously people were even afraid to roam in town during the day. However, the curfew is affecting my business because I sell mostly at night, so we are appealing to the authorities to review it to 10p.m. for us.”

A yam seller, Mrs Zina Yakubu, also called on the government to do “something about the curfew because the situation is affecting us greatly. It’s having a toll on my pockets because sales have gone low, I sell yam and business thrives at night.”

Recommendation

When contacted, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Nanumba North, Mr Abdulai Yaqoub, said the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) had recommended to the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) the review of the curfew hours from 8p.m. to 6p.m. following the relative peace in the area.

He said the National Peace Council (NPC), the Local Mediation Council, the Catholic Dioceses, West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) and other relevant stakeholders had engaged with the youth of the area on the need to champion the cause of peace in the Bimbilla.

“There are plans to organise a peace concert in Bimbilla as part of measures to ensure lasting peace in the area, I had a discussion with the Regional Minister on that and we intend bringing all the popular artistes into Bimbilla to perform.

I want to assure you that the conflict has been resolved. When you take a walk through the streets in town, you will see the residents embarking on their businesses peacefully so I am appealing to all investors to come and invest here because there is now peace and security,” Mr Yaqoub added.

Negative media reportage

The Regent of Bimbilla and Ag. President of the Nanung Traditional Council, Nyelinboligu Naa Yakubu Andani Dassana, at a maiden meeting of the Traditional Council held in Bimbilla recently, expressed worry over the negative media reportage about the area.

He, therefore, cautioned the youth to be circumspect in their actions and utterances that could trigger conflict, stressing that, “let’s put aside your differences and let’s come together to fight our common enemy which is ignorance, poverty and under development.”

Background

Bimbilla, a major transit point on the Eastern Corridor trunk road is one town in the region that has suffered a series of chieftaincy conflicts.

The predominantly farming area has been a centre of conflicts that span many years.

These eventually led to the murder of the Overlord of the area, Naa Dassana Andani, at his palace by some unknown assailants, thus plunging Bimbilla into crisis, which led to the loss of many lives, destruction of properties and the eventual imposition of the prevailing curfew.

Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, declared the Dassana Andani Family rightful rulers of Bimbilla following a protracted chieftaincy dispute that had led to the death of many people, including Naa Andani in 2014.

The five-member panel of the apex court reaffirmed the decisions of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs and the National House of Chiefs that declared Naa Andani as the legitimate chief of the area.

Another claimant to the Bimbilla Skin, the late Nakpa Naa Salifu Dawuni, filed an appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the National House of Chiefs.

 But in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that Naa Andani's lineage to the Bimbilla Skin was legitimate.