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Opinions of Friday, 14 August 2015

Columnist: Aliu, Zuberu

Northern MPs Desert Bimbilla in the midst of Crisis

Bimbilla is the capital town of the Nanumba North District in the Northern region. In the past, the land of Nanung was noted for its potential in agriculture as a result of the vast arable land that the area is endowed with. Unfortunately, the Bimbilla town has come under severe pressure due to the recurring chieftaincy conflict.
The chieftaincy conflict is traced to the disagreement over who qualifies to occupy the Nanung paramouncy. The final funeral rite of the late Naa Abarika Atta II was performed in 2002 and since then Bimbilla town has not known peace. Many lives have been lost and properties worth millions of Ghana cedis destroyed. The recent crisis in the town has raised some legitimate questions that beg for urgent answers. Is there any institution called Peace Council in Ghana? Where is the Northern Caucus in parliament and what is its role to ending the stream of blood that continues to flood Bimbilla?
It is now obvious that the crisis in Bimbilla has gone beyond both the District Security Council and the Regional Security Council. In this situation, residents in Bimbilla and it’s environs would naturally expect their MPs to at least lead the way. Sadly, it has become so scarce like water in a desert to point out any intervention made by the Northern MPs in Parliament. It will be a child play to limit this role to the incumbent Member of Parliament of Bimbilla as some may attempt to do. By every indication, our MPs are treasured for their ability to mobilize people. They have all the know-how to be able to calm nerves and to work towards finding a lasting solution to the avoidable crisis that have clouded the land of Nanung.
While it’s important for the MPs to intervene, it’s equally significant that the MPs and all other political actors approach the crisis in Bimbilla with circumspection. It is a common believe that politicians in Ghana take advantage of volatile situations, particularly in the north to make political capital. This must not be applied to the case in Bimbilla. There is high level of apprehension among residents in Bimbilla. And many have already expressed fears of the situation degenerating into hopelessness if nothing concrete is done.
The cost of this crisis cannot be exactly quantified since a life lost cannot be regained. Not long ago, the district assembly through its chief executive, Alhaji Mohammed IBN Abass, announced to the world that the assembly so far spent close to GH?300,000 to maintain security personnel in the town. However, many people have expressed contrary view to this as they questioned the inability of the DISEC to avert the frequent clashes between the factions.
What is missing in the efforts to ensuring peace in Bimbilla is that stakeholders have left the crisis to itself and are always looking for cosmetic solutions. When the shooting incident occurred in 2014, no effort was made to engage the warring factions towards peace building. There was absolutely nothing. Everybody sat back until 2015 when there was a renewed fighting.
We can’t continue to rely on curfew to solve this problem. After all, all the shooting and killing happened outside curfew hours. The state, Northern Caucus in Parliament, the good people in Nanung and all stakeholders must be in the middle-of-the-road and move swiftly to avert further killings in the area.