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Regional News of Friday, 13 February 2009

Source: GNA

Minister-Nominee for Northern Region pledges to end conflicts

Accra, Feb. 13, GNA - Mr Steven Sumani Nayina, Minister-Nominee for Northern Region, on Friday told the Parliamentary Appointments Committee that when given the nod, he would ensure that conflicts in the Region became a thing of the past.

"If I become Regional Minister, I can assure you that conflicts in the Region will become a thing of the past," he said. Mr Nayina noted that much progress had already been made towards peace in the Yendi conflict, saying he would build on the progress made to bring a lasting solution. He said in addition to the role being played by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs led by Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to ensure peace in the Dagbon Traditional Area, the Judicial Committee of the Northern Region House of Chiefs would also be resourced to work effectively towards ensuring lasting peace. Touching on the problem of "Kayayie" (women porters) in Accra, most of who migrated from the Region, he said the problem was due to lack of opportunities for education and employment even though the youth in the Region were hard working.

"Ninety per cent of the women porters are illiterate and the remaining 10 per cent are either school drop-outs or people from poor homes," he said. Mr Nayina noted that in addition to poverty and illiteracy, were the problems of lack of opportunities due to lack of investors, access roads and high production cost.

He pledged to provide the youth with tools and small loans to create employment opportunities for them in farming and also improve infrastructure to attract investors to the area. On the infrastructure, Mr Nayina said particular attention would be paid to opening up the eastern corridor with a link road from Bawku in Upper East Region through the Northern Region and Volta Region to Accra.

Mr Nayina supported the idea that the Northern Region should be partitioned for development purposes. Asked what plans he had to deal with floods and disasters in the Region, he said "I will pray against the floods, but we still need the rain for our harvest".

Alhaji Muntaka M. Mubarak, Minister-Nominee for Youth and Sports, told the Committee that he would continue with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), to solve the unemployment problem among the youth.

He urged the Government to consider supporting the Youth in Agriculture Programme by ensuring that the produce from their farms were procured for the School Feeding Programme and other educational institutions instead of importing food for them. Mr Mubarak pledged to restore national sports festivals and inter-college sports competitions to supply talents unearthed from schools to the national teams.

"I will also introduce a mentoring programme to give the youth the opportunity to learn from achievers in the country to encourage them to look into the future with hope," he said.

He had a Valentine's Day message for the youth: "Make sure that whatever you do, you don't do anything that you will regret in future."