An Islamic Scholar has called on residents of Bawku and its environs, to reaffirm the bond of solidarity among them and work towards settling all their traditional and political differences in a peaceful manner.
Sheikh Anas Ibrahim Tawfiq, Head of the Darul Hadith Institute of Islamic Studies, who made the call, said it was time the people in Bawku re-examined themselves and see the devastating effects of the prolong chieftaincy conflict in the area
He said they should be worried about some selfish individuals and groups who are hiding behind the protracted chieftaincy dispute in the area to create chaos, disrupting the bustling socio-economic lives, growing business, and tourism investment opportunities in the area.
“It is time to renew the call on the people of Bawku to do more and silence their weapons in the spirit of peace and unity that Islam teaches,” he stated.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi, Sheikh Tawfiq, said it was imperative for the people to resolve their differences to ensure that Bawku regained its status as the bustling economic hub of northern Ghana.
He said Bawku was gradually becoming a ghost town and the proud people who hitherto, lived peacefully, were now becoming refugees in their own communities.
Sheikh Tawfiq pointed out that the current state of hopelessness, atrocities, and confusion among the people in the area, were not only detrimental to the socio-economic lives of the people, but also creating mental torture, especially for children and young people in the area.
He said the conflict had stalled economic activities, wasted scarce state resources, dislocated people, and deprived many school going children the opportunity to pursue their future aspirations, as schools had been closed down and teachers deserted the communities in the area.
“Armed confrontation continues to lead to the loss of able and productive lives and destruction of valuable properties, and this needs urgent attention of all those involved in the conflict,” he said.
Sheikh Tawfiq noted that the situation in Bawku was robbing the people of their rights and dignity and thereby, widening the existing inequality gap which had already deprived many residents in better socio-economic opportunities.
He said the issue in Bawku continued to taint the image of Ghana on the international front and stressed the need for the residents in the area to come together and resolve their differences to ensure lasting peace in the area.
Sheikh Tawfiq also appealed to the National Media Commission (NMC) to take appropriate actions to prevent media houses in the area, which were using their platforms to incite violence in the area.
He also called on the government to strengthen the security situation in the area to help prevent further deaths and destruction of properties.