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General News of Thursday, 20 May 2004

Source: GNA

Dagbon State Of Emergency Extended

... Curfew lifted in Yendi
Accra, May 20, GNA - Parliament on Thursday lifted the curfew in the Yendi District but voted to extend the State of Emergency there and in the Tamale Municipality for a period of one month, beginning May 23, 2004 by a vote of 160 for with none against.

This came amidst calls by the Minority for the lifting of the State of Emergency in the Tamale Municipality.

Members of Parliament turned up in their numbers after a break on April 14 to perform their constitutional mandate. Before the commencement of Public Business, there was the usual chitchats and backslapping as members chatted with each other after a long break.

Unlike previous occasions, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, the Interior Minister, had an easy task of asking for support from his colleagues, to extend the State of Emergency in the two areas. Both sides of the House showed a lot of goodwill and the usual arguments and dragging of issues was absent as the House was able to finish its main agenda in no time and called for an adjournment until June 10.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman, who moved the motion for the extension, hinted that the burial of the assassinated Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Paramount Chief of Dagbon Traditional Area, would take place in June, even though, he could not give a specific date for the burial.

The Interior Minister said it was expected that by the end of May the construction of a temporary palace in Yendi would be completed to pave the way for a fitting burial for the Ya-Na.

He appealed to the people in the area to respect the decisions arrived at by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs overseeing a peaceful resolution of the Dagbon crisis, in order not to derail the burial arrangements.

He said he had proposed to Parliament to set up a committee made up of some members of Parliament from the area to help in addressing the pre and post conflict issues relating to the crisis.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman said arrangements had been made to ensure that all security personnel, overseeing the peace in the area, were adequately briefed on the "dos and don'ts associated with the assignment given them".

He said arrangements were also in place to ensure that there was free flow of information to both gates on matters relating to the discussions by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs.

He expressed regrets about recent developments and clashes in the area involving supporters of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), and said this could have a huge impact on the outcome of the situation in the area.

Mr Alban Bagbin, the Minority Leader, who summed up the Minority's position, called for the lifting of the State of Emergency in the Tamale Municipality, saying Tamale should not suffer because of what happened in Yendi.

He said the Government had done little to track down the perpetrators of violence, alleging that, even though, there had been the firing of gunshots from time to time in the area no one had been arrested so far.

He said the security personnel should be alert to bring culprits to book since it had serious security implications because of the arms involved.
The Minority Leader commended the establishment of a Parliamentary Committee to help solve the crisis in the area. 20 May 04