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General News of Sunday, 5 November 2017

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Fulani attacks: Eastern regional minister must go – NDC

The Eastern regional branch of the main opposition NDC has called on the Eastern regional minister to resign if he is overwhelmed by the Fulani menace in the region.

According to the party, Eric Kwakye Darfour’s response to the recent Fulani attacks in the Kwahu which resulted in the death of 8 people has shown that he lacks the sensitivity needed to address the matter.

In a statement, the party called on the minister to review his approach or leave the post for a more competent person to take over.

“It is regrettable to realize that since March of 2017, a number of schools in the Hweehwee areas of the Kwahu East District in the Eastern Region have been closed down. Teachers teaching in those areas have fled for their lives. Nurses and health workers working in those areas have also stopped working.

Major Economic activities like farming and trading have come to a standstill and this has aggravated the already precarious situation of the indigenes in the area.

“Whilst we recognize that the effects of normadic activities in the Region is not a new phenomenon, its consequences have rather exacerbated within these few months. What is worse is that Government seems to throw its hands in despair, thereby signalling to the people that they have no solution to this periodic menace.

“This is evident from the comments of the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon Eric Kwakye Darfour, on several media platforms.

The Regional Minister has shown gross insensitivity and poor responsiveness, ever since the latest attacks of which 8 or so innocent citizens lost their lives. He has not visited the area to demonstrate any assurance of safety and is reported to have said “I am not Captain Planet”,” the statement said.

It adedd: “His lackadaisical attitude towards providing short, medium and long term solutions suggests he is either incompetent, has a commercial interest in cattle rearing in the area, or is a beneficiary of normadic activities in the area.

“We have come across a release from the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council with the signature of the Regional Minister that seeks to make suggestions for the way forward.

In the release, the Minister calls for a national dialogue on cattle rearing, facilitation of dialogue between leadership of communities and Normads and promotion of policy that empowers the private sector in the management of the cattle industry.

“In our view, none of these give assurance of safety in the area for natives to exercise their rights to move freely and be engaged in economic activities in the short, medium and long term. We see these suggestions as distractions and a way to buy time, instead of providing workable solutions to the problem. The single reality is that our people are not safe on their own land and our environment risks getting degraded by the activities of these herdsmen.

“We are calling on Government to show urgency in dealing with the rising lawlessness in the area. Government has the ultimate responsibility to protect citizens and their property.

“We are calling on the Regional Minister to resign, if he feels overwhelmed by the enormity of his responsibility as the Regional Minister to allow a more competent person to take over”.