Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Mr Noble Appiah, has entreated station managers and branch executives of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) at the Aboabu Lorry Station in Tamale to be vigilant and check drivers and their vehicles to reduce accidents on the roads.
He stated that the Ministry of Roads and Transport had instituted an awards scheme for station managers and drivers as a way of encouraging them to play effective roles in the curbing of accidents on the roads.
Mr Appiah gave the advice at a meeting with station managers and branch executives of the GPRTU at the Aboabu Lorry Station in Tamale.
The meeting was aimed at educating drivers on the need to take precautionary measures to avoid accidents.
Mr Appiah said it was important for executives of the GPRTU to ensure that drivers complied with road safety measures.
“You must assert yourselves and ensure that your drivers avoid thinking so much about their profit, to the detriment of the safety of passengers,” he added.
He expressed regret that 70 per cent of all accidents recorded in Ghana occurred on good roads.
“Road traffic accidents are not acceptable and passengers must also assert themselves if their lives are put in jeopardy,” he observed.
He pointed out that “station managers must know drivers who are competent”.
He also lamented the fact that about a month ago 21 people died when two vehicles from Tamale got involved in an accident at Dawadawa on the Tamale-Kintampo road.
“This is unacceptable and we must ensure that this does not happen again. We all have a responsibility to ensure effective road safety measures,” Mr Appiah stressed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


ATHE Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Mr Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, has advised operators of orphanages to be primarily concerned with the interest of children under their care.
Sharing his thoughts on the proliferation of orphanages in certain parts of the country with the Daily Graphic in Tamale, he said some of “the children in these orphanages are not orphans but are put there by greedy and selfish people who use them to solicit alms in kind and in cash for their personal gains”.
He said in some cases the practice of keeping children in these institutions was now counter-productive and should be discouraged.
Mr Antwi-Boasiako explained that over the years, the practice of keeping children in such institutions was viewed as the most appropriate option for offering care, support and protection for needy children, but pointed out that the practice was now different as most operators of those institutions did not have the paramount interest of the children at heart.
Mr Antwi-Boasiako said, for instance, that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed over the decades between the Government of Ghana and Save Our Souls (SOS) Villages must be reviewed, stressing that, “We have operated under this document since then but times have changed, situations differ now from then and it is about time we revisited that document to bring it up-to-date with current developments in the field of child protection”.
The minister, however, acknowledged that the SOS Villages ran community-based social and educational programmes in the surrounding communities within which they operated and described that initiative as a better childcare option.
The Northern Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr John Ankrah, said children should grow in a family setting.
He, however, explained that although allowing children to grow in institutions retarded their emotional and brain development, that did not contribute to the breakdown of the nuclear and extended family systems.
Mr Ankrah attributed the breakdown of family structures to industrialisation resulting in rural-urban migration and said when people migrated to the cities for ‘greener pastures’, they got detached from their nuclear and extended families as most of them were unable to attend funerals and other social gatherings or support their families economically.
He said in law, the orphanages were referred to as residential homes for children in the Children’s Act and stressed the need for operators of orphanages to operate their facilities as such, by providing them with the needed care, support, love and training to enhance their growth and development.


THE Mayor of Tamale, Alhaji Abdulai Harruna Friday, has tasked the Finance and Administration sub-committee of the assembly to come out with more innovative ways of mobilising revenue for the assembly.
“The sub-committee may also have to revise some of the mechanisms used in collecting revenue in order to step-up our performance to attract more funds to meet our development targets,” he indicated.
The mayor, who was speaking at the first ordinary meeting of the assembly this year in Tamale, bemoaned the abysmal performance of the revenue department of the assembly in the first quarter of this year.
From January to March, the assembly generated only GH¢148,000 representing about 19 per cent of the targeted revenue of GH¢814,148.00 for the year.
“From the picture, it is clear that we need to do more to be able to achieve our annual revenue target and I will urge our revenue officers to take it upon themselves as a challenge to themselves and as a group,” Alhaji Friday stated.
He further stated that, as part of measures to ensure efficiency in revenue mobilisation, the assembly will be embarking on periodic checks on the books of revenue collectors at post.
The mayor announced that the assembly had received an amount of GH¢345,000 as its fourth quarter allocation of the Common Fund and that, “the amount is being used to service existing debts and other approved development projects of the assembly”.
On the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in the metropolis, Alhaji Friday commended security persons including the “Bilchinsi” peace council and taskforces at the various communities for their dedication and selflessness.
He promised that the assembly will provide them with the necessary logistics to facilitate their work.
The mayor called for the co-operation of residents in the work of the taskforce and indicated that, “the maintenance of peace and security should be seen as the collective responsibility of every one of us in this metropolis”.


THE Vector Control Unit of Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL) in Tamale has embarked on an intensive exercise to rid the Aboabu, Central and other markets in the Tamale Metropolis of rodents.
The measure is aimed at ensuring a clean and healthy environment at the various markets in the Metropolis.
The Communications Officer of the ZGL, responsible for the three northern regions, Mr Francis Abirigo, told the Daily Graphic that his outfit decided to carry out such “an aggressive exercise because rodents do not only inconvenience human beings but also pose a health hazard to people as they poison food and destroy property”.
Mr Abirigo said densely populated areas in the Metropolis and the region have been identified for the exercise.
He mentioned the Salaga Central Market, Yendi and Savelugu as other places earmarked for the exercise.
He underscored the need for individuals, especially market women, to avoid leaving their food uncovered in order not to be contaminated by the rodents.
He said the team also embarked on educational campaigns to make the company’s operations and their benefits to the communities known to residents.
The Northern Regional Vector Control Officer, Mr Zakaria Abdul-Rashid, said after the sensitisation exercise, the team carried out pre-baiting, where pieces of bread were kept at vantage points in the selected markets.
He explained that the team went to the markets the following morning to ascertain whether the rodents have picked the pieces of bread.
According to him, if the rodents picked the bread, then by evening, a chemical called “storm” was put into the pieces of bread.
According to the Officer, the team finalises its work by going round the market to check on the results the third day.
Mr Rashid said the chemical, unlike other chemicals that kill rodents inside shops and holes, make the rodents feel warm and then come out to look for fresh air and die subsequently.
He said another team was spraying all toilet facilities and drains to stop the breeding of mosquitoes and other vectors.
A market woman, Madam Rakia Abdulai, on behalf of her colleagues said since the exercise was carried out, they had not seen any sign of rodents in the area.
She therefore appealed to the company to sustain the exercise for the benefit of traders in the various markets in Northern Ghana.


THE Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, has called for the construction of modern structures for the Tamale Central Prison.
He stated that such a measure would ultimately help reduce overcrowding at the prison due to the ever-increasing population of prisoners on remand.
“The current poor facilities at the prison are unsafe for habitation so stakeholders must help put up a new structure,” the minister stressed.
Mr Mabengba made the call at the inauguration of a seven-member regional prisons committee chaired by the regional minister.
The committee, whose membership comprised of officials and directors from the Ghana Health Service, Attorney General’s Department and traditional authorities, was tasked with the responsibility of identifying problems in the prisons and making appropriate recommendations to enhance proper management of the sector.
The regional minister observed that “from my occasional visits to the Tamale Central Prison after the escape of the notorious armed robber, Johnson Kombian, I noticed that the prison was very old”.
According to him, the prison was established during the colonial era “around 1928 and since then, the structure has never seen any major rehabilitation or expansion works”.
Mr Mabengba suggested that the new structure could be done in phases.
He announced that the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) would assist prison officers in Tamale to acquire decent accommodation through the South Korean Housing Project.
“It is therefore my hope that with the inauguration of the committee, we shall work closely with several partners like the judiciary, police, legislature, religious groups and non-governmental organisations to help integrate prisoners into the society after their release from prison,” he stated.
Mr Mabengba expressed regret that some of the workshops at the prison were idle for lack of tools, and stressed the need to revamp such facilities and equip them with modern equipment to enhance the reformatory and correctional process for prisoners.
The Chairman of the Prisons Service Council, Air Marshal John Bruce, expressed regret that the most recent annual report of the service indicated that 51.8 per cent of the inmates were between the ages of 18 and 25.
“The council is very disturbed about these figures because they represent a waste of human resources,” the chairman stated.
According to him, the service lacked the needed resources to enable them to offer meaningful training for those inmates.
He entreated civil society groups, the media, philanthropists and non-governmental organisations to support the prisons service, particularly in the area of integrating prisoners into the society.
Air Marshal Bruce also expressed concern about the low daily feeding grant of 60Gp that was woefully inadequate to provide inmates with meals of nutritional value.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


COTTON farmers in the three northern regions have made an urgent appeal to the government to rescue the industry from collapse by injecting more capital into the sector.
That, they noted, would enable farmers to get access to the necessary farm inputs such as tractors, fertilisers, sprayers and pesticides to cultivate cotton in the north this planting season.
“Three weeks from now the planting season for cotton will be due, yet farmers in northern Ghana do not have the necessary inputs for farming,” they lamented.
The National Secretary of the Cotton Farmers Association of Ghana (CFAG), Mr Nashiru Adam, made the appeal at a press conference in Tamale.
It was aimed at renewing the call on the government to address the numerous challenges facing the industry.
Mr Adam said following the closure of some cotton companies in the past nine years, cotton farmers in the north had been rendered redundant and consequently remained unemployed, although there was enormous potential for employment in that sector.
He stressed that the decision of the CFAG to hold the press conference was borne out of the frustration of its members in their dealings with the government.
“We have written several letters appealing to the government to rescue the cotton industry from collapse and put the cotton farmers back in business but to no avail,” he pointed out.
The secretary also expressed regret that “we can no longer take care of our children in school and some of them have had to drop out”.
“While these sufferings are going on, cotton seeds and lint continue to appreciate in value and there is always a ready market for them. It is estimated that about 70 per cent of lint is exported to the Far East and Europe,” Mr Adam stressed.
He further explained that on the local front, there were companies that could provide a local market for cotton farmers, including Akosombo Textiles Limited, Volta Star Textiles, Bosbel in Tamale and Ghana Nuts Company in Techiman.
According to him, given the inadequate or non-existent resources for many cotton farmers, the government would be of immense help to the industry if it considered extending credit facilities to cotton farmers to strengthen “our financial bases to enable us to cultivate more of the produce to meet industrial demands”.
“We cotton farmers in the three northern regions, having high regard for the government’s promise of helping cotton farmers, can only keep our fingers crossed, hoping that it will go a long way to eradicate poverty in the north,” Mr Adam added.

Friday, May 7, 2010


WORK has commenced on 110.5 kilometres stretch of roads in four districts of the Northern Region.
The roads, which are being constructed and rehabilitated under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), are to open up farming communities in the Gushiegu, Savelugu-Nanton, Tolon-Kumbungu and Karaga districts and link them to marketing centres by June, 2011.
The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) is facilitating the project to ensure increased access to social services and improvement in farming activities in the districts.
The projects, estimated at $20.3 million, are being financed under the MCA programme and are expected to be completed within 20 months. The contractors are Jiangxi Zhong Mei and Zhong Hai, both Chinese construction firms, with Messrs Kocks Consult as the consultant and MiDA as the implementing agency.
Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony at Zhoggu in the Savelugu-Nanton District, the Chief Executive Officer of MiDA, Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, stated that the projects involved gravelling and bitumen surfacing of the roads and the construction and rehabilitation of 236 new and existing culverts.
They are the Savelugu-Zhoggu, Zhoggu-Tampion junction, Savelugu-Kpendua-Kuldanali, Yong-Sandu-Guno-Kpano, Diare-Kpong-Adayili and Ligba junction-Ligba roads.
The rest are the Pong-Landokura-Guybua road and the Bontanga-Kumbungu turn-off.
“MiDA is confident that the contractors engaged on the projects will complete and deliver excellent road passageways by the middle of 2011 to bring some relief and comfort to residents of the beneficiary districts,” he observed.
Mr Eson-Benjamin said the completion of the projects in 20 months was achievable because the roads had been carefully designed devoid of major resettlement challenges with funds available to meet approved payments under the contract.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu, assured the beneficiaries of the project that appropriate traffic management plans would be put in place to mitigate the effects of any inconveniences motorists and pedestrians might endure during the execution of the projects.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, expressed the hope that MiDA would consider the Walewale-Wungu-Bulbia-Kpasenkpe and the Nasia-Janga roads under the project.
He noted that poor road infrastructure inhibited the expansion of agricultural opportunities by limiting linkages to major domestic and international markets.
“That is why the focus of the MCA’s funding under the agricultural project is to undertake improvements on feeder roads in the intervention zones, facilitate access to markets and provide social services to enhance growth in agriculture,” Mr Mabengba stressed.
The Savelugu-Nanton District Chief Executive, Mr Prince Askia Mohammed, appealed to the MiDA to expedite action on the remaining roads designated under its second phase of the road rehabilitation programme.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


THE Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Haruna Husheini Sulemana, has expressed concern over the spate of lawlessness among the youth in their bid to make legitimate demands.
He noted that in every society there were rules and procedures that needed to be followed in order not to infringe on the fundamental human rights of any individual in the country.
He stressed the need for the youth to update their knowledge of provisions in the 1992 Constitution so that they did not undermine its tenets.
Mr Sulemana expressed the concern during the launch of the Northern Regional Constitution Week at Savelugu in the Savelugu-Nanton District.
It was on the theme, “Enhancing constitutionalism through effective citizens’ participation for good governance”.
Traditional leaders, assembly members, heads of departments, educationists and NCCE officials attended the launch.
Activities earmarked for the celebration include round-table discussions on the Constitution, a meeting with the security agencies, radio talk shows, funfairs and football matches.
Mr Sulemana stressed the fact that “the youth must be provided with the best opportunity to realise their full potential”.
“The youth are demanding their share of the national cake, which is legitimate, but the way some of them are going about it is worrisome. I personally think, for instance, that some of the demands are beyond the powers of the DCEs and district assemblies,” the director pointed out.
He reminded the participants that the “28th of April 1992 marked a turning point in our political history, since it was the day Ghanaians voted in a referendum to bring the Constitution into force as the supreme law of Ghana”.
The Savelugu-Nanton DCE, Mr Prince Askia Mohammed, observed that the lack of jobs in the three northern regions was “rapidly pushing the youth into all forms of social vices, including drug abuse, alcoholism, pornography, among others”.
He added that the government was sparing no effort to create more job opportunities under the Youth in Agriculture programme, regardless of the political affiliation of the youth.
“The government will not relent in its efforts to create vibrant, educated, enlightened and all-round developed youth capable of analysing national issues and making the desired inputs in governance,” Mr Mohammed added.
A retired teacher, Mr Wumbei Zakaria, observed that “the stronger a country’s democracy, the more useful its Constitution”.
“Why do we chase DCEs out of their offices and not the presiding members or the assembly members if we do not get jobs to do?” he asked.

Monday, May 3, 2010


SOME political party representatives in the Northern Region have stressed the need for a constitutional review that would limit the powers of the President in some areas of governance.
They noted, for instance, that Article 243 of the Constitution that gives power to the President to appoint District Chief Executives (DCEs) in the country with the approval of the assembly must be reviewed to allow for the election of DCEs.
That measure, they said, would reduce to the barest minimum, abuse of office by the DCEs and promote accountability.
The representatives equally stressed the need for a critical look at Article 78(2) of the constitution that does not place a ceiling on the number of ministers a President may appoint.
The representatives, Messrs. Amuda Kasim and Mohammed Sulemana, the Regional Secretary of the People’s National Convention(PNC) and the Tamale South Constituency Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) respectively, stated this during an interview with media practitioners in Tamale at the Community and District level Consultations of the Constitutional Review Commission for selected stakeholders in the Metropolis.
The stakeholders included meat sellers and butchers associations, security agencies, heads of departments, representatives of political parties, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and various interest groups.
Mr Kasim observed that the exercise was a step in the right direction since a significant number of residents in the region do not read and understand the constitution.
“Most people do not know their fundamental human rights and when their rights are infringed upon” he stressed.
He further explained that it was necessary for the constitutional provision regarding the appointment of DCEs to be reviewed, stressing that when they were elected by the people at the grass roots, it would promote accountability as the DCEs would be enjoined to perform creditably.
Mr Sulemana stated that the exercise was important as it would help to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the constitution.
He said there were several areas of the constitution that needed to be reviewed to, among other things, limit the powers of the President and the executive arm of government.
“The issue of appointment of DCEs by the President has been raised by many Ghanaians during many forums and this issue had also been the main concern of the NDC when it was in opposition” Mr Sulemana added.
According to him, when the President is given too much powers, a dictatorial Presidency might abuse the powers given it and so must be checked.
The Counsel to the Commission and Lead Researcher for the Northern Region, Mr Abdul Baasit Aziz, pointed out that a constitutional review had nothing to do with politics but to make sure that every one’s voice was heard loud and clear on the review.
Mr Aziz mentioned the need for independent funding for bodies like the National Commission for Civic Education, the Electoral Commission, and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as one of the concerns raised by the public.
He indicated that the Commission was tasked to ascertain and articulate the concerns of the public regarding the review, strengths and weaknesses of the constitution.
So far, the commission has visited nine districts of the region with 11 more districts to go.
The remaining districts are East and West Mamprusi, Yendi Municipal, West and East Gonja, Karaga, Nanumba South, Tolon-Kumbungu and Zabzugu-Tatale districts.
The consultation is expected to end on June 3, 2010.