The National House of Chiefs (NHC) has called on all traditional rulers to help the national security agencies to ensure peace and security in the country, following the recent kidnappings and the ethnic conflict at Chereponi in the North East Region.
It said ensuring national security, and at all other levels, must not be the preserve of the government but rather joint efforts by stakeholders and all citizens, emphasising that traditional and religious leaders were crucial in ensuring the country’s security.
The President of the NHC, Togbe Afede XIV, made the call at the House’s Mid-Year General Meeting which was held last Thursday in Tamale, the first time it had held the meeting outside Kumasi in the history of the institution.
The NHC also used the occasion to honour the Overlord of the Dagbon Kingdom, Yaa Naa Abukari Mahama II, for his role in ensuring peace in the area since becoming the Overlord.
He was officially admitted to the National House of Chiefs.
Togbe Afede said the recent kidnapping episodes in the country were alarming and invited the membership of the National House of Chiefs to support the government to stem the phenomenon in their various communities.
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The President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Yagbongwura Tutumba Boresa I, for his part, said the National House of Chiefs owed the country a conscience of peace, unity, and it needed to promote and widen the frontiers of peaceful co-existence, irrespective of cultural and religious differences.
“Based on the successes of Dagbon, I wish to call on the people of Bole, in my own backyard in the Savannah Region, and Chereponi in the North East Region of Ghana, to immediately say no to violence and destruction and give peace a very big chance,” he said.
“The development of Ghana is not the sole responsibility of the central government but rather a partnership between the traditional authorities and government. In the developing world, chiefs and government are bed fellows and we, therefore, need to collaborate in championing the cause of development,” the Yagbongwura urged.
Adding his voice to the need for security at all levels, the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, cautioned all members of the public to be security conscious and be observant of their surroundings.
“We are all in recent times privy to information on terrorist threats in the sub region, with reported attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
“There are reports of infiltration of some of these extremists into our territory and the influx of refugees from northern Burkina Faso into the Sissala East District,” Mr Kan-Dapaah said.
Following the emerging trend in the sub region, he said the Ministry of National Security, together with other security agencies, had embarked on a sensitisation programme to provide some security tips for the public.
Peace in Dagbon
Speaking on the topic: “Consolidating the peace in Dagbon for National Development,” the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, stated that chiefs in the Dagbon Kingdom had proven that they could apply resources properly for national development.
“The Dagbon Kingdom, as history demonstrates, has had contacts with other traditional authorities and has by necessary implication made significant contribution to the enrichment of other cultures and values. Indeed, in a way, our country’s social, economic and political fabric has been patterned, essentially, with the significant contribution of the Dagbon Kingdom,” Mr Dzamesi said.
Following the chieftaincy challenges the Dagbon Kingdom faced for about 16 years, Mr Dzamesi stressed that to avert the replication of crises in the future, there must be a conscious and sustained effort on the part of the traditional authorities in Dagbon to abide by time-honoured customs that enabled prevalence of the chieftaincy institution.
He added that internal mechanisms for traditional management must be adhered to and strengthened, while they respond to changes and transitions.
Yaa Naa Abukari, for his part, thanked the House of Chiefs for the honour done him by holding its general meeting in Tamale, one of the towns in the Dagbon Traditional Area.
That singular act, he said, would go a long way to further consolidate the return of peace in Dagbon.
Yaa Naa Abukari pledged to work with all to speed up the development of the area to enable Dagbon to regain its past glory.