Both protagonists in the Nanung chieftaincy divide, the Nakpa Naa and the Andani Dasana families, have expressed their commitment to abide by the Supreme Court ruling on the Nanung paramountcy skin in Accra last Tuesday.
The apex court declared the Dasana Andani Family as the rightful rulers of Bimbilla, thereby bringing to close the protracted conflict that had gone on in the area for about a decade and a half.
In the process, many lives and properties were lost in the internecine conflict over the rightful successor to the skin.
According to the Nakpa Naa Family, although the outcome of the ruling was a difficult one, it had accepted the court’s decision in the interest of the people of Nanung and Ghana as a whole.
An elder of the family, Gbei-naa Amadu Mustapha Zakari, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the verdict was a victory for all Nanumbas and not only the Andani Dasana Family.
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He, therefore, called on all and sundry in the area to abide by the ruling, while entreating the victors to celebrate in moderation.
“Although the ruling was difficult, we have appealed to the conscience of our people to accept it for us to move on as a people and we, therefore, expect our brothers from the winning side to extend a hand of reconciliation to us for total peace to prevail in the area.
“The Dasana-Naa Family which was declared victors should not consider themselves as winners and we as losers. We should all see ourselves as winners and jubilate together in order that we achieve peace together for the accelerated development of the area,” he stressed.
Gbei-naa Zakari called on all the stakeholders in the peace-building process to come together to fashion out strategies to help bring about reconciliation and total peace and unity to the area, adding: “We will be grateful if the government will play a facilitating role in the process.”
According to him, before the Supreme Court ruling, the National Peace Council (NPC), the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), the West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP), the Catholic Peace Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Yendi and the feuding factions had been working together for a peaceful resolution of the matter.
Andani Dasana Family
For his part, the Spokesperson for the Regent of Bimbilla, Osman Dasana,said the ruling was a turning point in the fortunes of the area and urged both factions to bury their differences and reconcile for lasting peace.
He appealed to the government to pay much attention to the growth of the area that had suffered many setbacks following the protracted conflict.
“Nanung has been left out in terms of development for the past 15 years because resources have been channeled into peacekeeping. Now that the dispute has been settled, we are appealing to the government to channel adequate resources to the area to enable development to thrive,” he stated.
The Chairman of the Nanumba North Municipal Security Council (MUSEC), Mr Abdulai Yaqoub, who is also the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the area, said last Wednesday`s ruling had been welcomed by residents of the area and that they were going about their normal activities peacefully.
“ As I speak, everybody is going about his/her daily activities without any fear or apprehension,” he added.
According to him, the MUSEC was monitoring the situation and at the appropriate time it would recommend a review in the curfew hours in the area.
Some residents of the area who spoke with the Daily Graphic called for a review of the curfew hours to enhance commercial activities in the area.
Mr Nantogmah Aliu Wumpini, a resident, commended the various stakeholders for their efforts in the peace-building process.
Fusheina Abdulai, a trader at the Bimbilla Market, said business had bounced back in earnest following the court ruling which signified the dawn of a new era.
House of Chiefs
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional House of Chiefs has announced that the house would set up a committee to reconcile the two factions.
The Vice-President of the Gonja Traditional Council, Buipewura Abdulai Mahama Jinapor, who read a speech on behalf of the President of the house, Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa I, announced this at a press conference in Tamale last Wednesday.
He entreated the people to keep activities and exchanges civil to maintain an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.
“We request that all parties reiterate to their supporters their commitment to non-violent, law abiding and peaceful co-existence,” he added.
The Supreme Court last Wednesday declared the Dasana 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 the appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the National House of Chiefs.
But, in a unanimous decision on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the Supreme Court held that Naa Andani's lineage to the Bimbilla Skin was legitimate.
“We, therefore, find no merit in the appeal and it is dismissed in its entirety,” the court held.
The judgement was read by Mr Justice Gabriel Pwamang, while the panel was presided over by Mr Justice Julius Ansah.
Other members of the panel were Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and Mr Justice Yaw Appau.
The court, however, refused to award costs, as demanded by lawyers of the victors.