A 13-Member Upper East Regional Peace Council has been inaugurated in Bolgatanga with a call on the members to be good mediators in conflict situations by remaining neutral in the discharge of their duties.
The acting Regional Minister, Mr Frank Adongo Fuseini, who made the call, reminded the council members to "watch your own behaviour and utterances in order to build trust and integrity in the eyes of the public".
He encouraged the members not "to abuse the trust reposed in you in order not to attract unwarranted criticisms from the public".
According to him, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) had conducted investigations into a land boundary dispute between the Bongo and the Nabdam Traditional Areas and that all indications were that the new council would be called upon to mediate.
"Illegal mining activities are becoming one of the new threats to peace in the region which must occupy the attention of this new council, "Mr Fuseini urged.
The minister equally observed that with new interests shown by multinational companies in some parts of the region, issues of conflicts with local small-scale groups and land owners were becoming rife.
He explained that REGSEC had pushed the issues to the point where mediation was needed to bring the conflicting parties to agree on a win-win situation.
Mr Fuseini observed that the new council was being inaugurated at a time when REGSEC and traditional authorities had worked hard to chalk successes, including the successful enskinment of new chiefs for Navrongo, Kologo and Manyoro.
He further indicated that the Bawku InterEthnic Peace Committee was almost at the point of putting closure to the pursuance of the road map for peace in the area where an Okro stick will have to be buried to mark the formal pacification of the land and return to peace.
The Upper East Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Osei Kwaku Ampofo-Duku in a speech read on his behalf called for closer collaboration between security services and the council to ensure that the region and for that matter the country remained safe to attract investors and donor countries.
"The government's free education, One-district, One-factory, One- village, One-dam, Planting for Food and Jobs and the Nation Builders' Corps (NABCO) and other interventions will not survive without peace and security," the commander stressed.
A member of the governing board of the National Peace Council, Mr Shaibu Abubakar noted that framers of the National Architecture for Peace envisaged that the setting up of a National Institution of that nature dedicated to peace would provide mechanisms for monitoring and reporting early signs of emerging conflict for conflict prevention and peace building.
A member of the newly inaugurated council, Alhaji Sumaila Issaka thanked the region for the confidence reposed in members of the council and pledged on behalf of the members to work hard to promote peace in the region.
A High Court Judge,Justice Asmah Asiedu swore the members into office after administering the official oath, oath of allegiance and oath of secrecy.
The council is mandated to advice the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and the REGSEC in relation to conflict prevention, management, resolution and building sustainable peace in the region.
It is also to mediate in conflict which was likely to erupt in violence.
He said they were also expected to engage in public awareness of conflict indicators within the region and make recommendations to the RCC and REGSEC on how to improve the situation.