Thursday, November 25, 2010


RESIDENTS of Tamale metropolis have been treated to cultural performances by various cultural troupes from the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions at the ongoing National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) at the Jubilee Park in the metropolis.
Seventeen cultural troupes from the Northern Region and three groups from the Brong Ahafo Region performed.
The programme was interspersed with poetry recitals. The one that drew admiration and cheers from residents was the poem on the tourism potentials of the Brong Ahafo Region by Akosua Kakyere Boakyewaa.
The various ethnic groups in the Northern Region, mainly Dagombas, Gonjas, Mamprusis, and Nanumbas performed to the satisfaction of the residents.
The groups include; the Nchile Tosiwa from Gambaga, the Takai from the Centre for National Culture (CNC) in Tamale and the Tanokrom Agoromma and Philamonic Choir from the BAR.
The event was co-chaired by Nana Owusu Akyeaw Bripong II, the Omanhene of Atebubu traditional area and the Mamprugu King, Na Bohagu Mahami Abdulai.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Magbenba, used the occasion to call on the arts and film industry to ensure that the nation’s cultural identity was not undermined by foreign culture.
“We need to strengthen our national identity as a way of preserving our cultural heritage, particularly at a time when we have an information super highway” he pointed out.
He outlined the region’s tourism potential but expressed regret that most of the tourist sites were inaccessible.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, announced plans by the government to provide funds through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture to complete the region’s theatre project that had been abandoned for decades.
He said the region abounded in such potentials as the Tano Sacred Fish, the Buoyem Bat sanctuary and caves, the Bui and Digya National Parks.
The minister noted that the region had gold deposits and that plans were far advanced to undertake mining activities in the Tano North District.
“The region has a lot of potentials in agriculture and animal husbandry and provides 30 per cent of the country’s food requirements” he stated.
According to him, the region had a total land mass of 39,557.08 square kilometres.
Mr Marfo explained that the region was carved out of the Ashanti Region on April 4, 1959.
The week-long NAFAC has 10 participatory regions with each of them given the opportunity to display their cultural heritage and mount exhibitions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


POOR co-ordination among key stakeholders in food security programmes has been identified as a major challenge in dealing with the problems in the Northern Region.
As a result of the situation, there is duplication of functions among the key partners, in spite of the huge investments made over the years to solve food insecurity in the region.
Other factors that militate against achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty include lack of integration and collaboration and the use of different development approaches towards achieving that goal.
Figures show that the Northern Region occupies about 40 per cent of the agricultural lands of Ghana, comprising sub-humid to semi-arid guinea and Sudan Savannah, with great potential for an agricultural revolution in the country.
The region is also considered in many respects as being the bread basket of the country, with about 70 per cent of its labour force engaged in agriculture, producing mainly food crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava, groundnuts, cowpea, yams and soya beans.
In spite of this huge potential, agriculture productivity and growth and in particular, the goal of ensuring food security continue to be a mirage.
Admittedly, although some successes have been chalked up over the years, much more needs to be done, considering the vast potential that exists in the region and the huge investments made in eradicating hunger in the area.
The absence of an effective platform and leadership to facilitate co-ordination and collaboration is another challenge to achieving the goals of food security in the region.
The non-adherence to land planning and development regulations is also a factor hindering efforts at achieving food security in the region.
At a recent workshop in Tamale on promoting food security through participation and collaboration, the 50 participants, drawn from the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council, the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, the Lands Commission, Care International, World Vision and the Forestry Department, stressed the need for effective collaboration among key partners in food security.
The workshop brought together the different actors in agriculture in the region under the leadership of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, with funding from the Urban Agriculture Network (URBANET).
It was aimed at engendering discussions to chart the way forward in dealing with food security so that interventions would be strategic and timely.
It was also expected to establish a platform where there would be greater comparability of programmes and interventions from one place to another, increased vigour, greater transparency and increased relevance of agricultural programmes to the regional and national strategic decision making and actions.
The Programme Co-ordinator of URBANET, Mr Rashid Zakaria, stressed the need for dialoguing with the right and appropriate stakeholders to ensure commitment and resource sharing in urban agriculture to impact positively on food security in the region.
The Deputy Northern Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Stephen Yakubu, said many well designed programmes were still being carried out in parallel interventions in many communities, all aimed at the overall objective of trying to help improve food security and sustainable livelihoods in northern Ghana.
He said the complexity of food security could be simplified into three distinct areas — food availability, accessibility and utilisation.
Indeed, one area of concern to some of the participants at the workshop was the establishment of food security networks (FSNs) as a strategy to boost food security in the region.
It is worthy of note that the government has developed a policy to guide agricultural development in Ghana called the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP), whose key objectives are to increase the food needs of Ghanaians for local consumption, local industry and export.
It also aims at creating wealth for farmers, most of whom are small-scale operators.
The strategies for its implementation include enhancing opportunities in the private sector to act as conduits for increased reach from government, especially small-scale operators in the food, livestock and fisheries sectors.
One major issue identified under FASDEP is the low incomes earned by farmers, mostly food crop farmers, and fishermen. In the Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) 5, food crop farmers were identified among the lowest income earners in the country, although they form more than 50 per cent of the population.
Furthermore, the GLSS 5 report also indicated that food crop farmers constituted 46 per cent of the poor in the country.
It is, therefore, imperative for key stakeholders to ensure that food security networks are developed at the district and regional levels to address food security issues.


THE WASSPS Aircraft Engineering Limited is to run a training programme on light aircraft in Tamale.
The programme is a first step towards the establishment of an aircraft engineering and manufacturing facility in the metropolis, depending on patronage of the training programmes.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Jonathan Porter, made this known during an interaction with media practitioners at the Tamale Airport.
The interaction formed part of a three-day cross-country promotional flight conducted by the company, using its CH701 ultra light aircraft manufactured in Ghana.
Mr Porter said the metropolis had a lot of potential in the usage of light aircraft and expressed the hope that in the near future, increase in patronage of its training programmes would encourage his outfit to locate a manufacturing industry for light aircraft in the sprawling city.
“I agree that some things need to move up here but the government needs to put in place the requisite facilities such as good roads, uninterrupted power supply, and ultramodern telecommunication facilities, including a high speed data mobile gadgets,” he pointed out.
He described the Tamale Airport as a fantastic one and expressed the hope that the capital could be moved from Accra to Tamale to facilitate the rapid development of the area and to encourage investors to fully tap the potential of the area.
He noted that one of the biggest challenges facing the area was lack of exposure to the benefits of the aviation industry, saying “parents are not encouraging their children to go into the aviation industry and I bet you, there are lots of prospects in that sector”.
The MD equally encouraged residents of the metropolis to use light aircraft since it had benefits such as using lesser hours to travel from Tamale to Accra.
He expressed optimism that some residents in the metropolis could purchase a light aircraft.
He said, for instance that one aircraft sold between $65,000 and $250,000, while it cost $100 an hour to rent an aircraft.
He said purchasing one aircraft manufactured by the company was equivalent to buying a new four-wheel vehicle.
The Aircraft Engineering Manager, Ms Patricia Nyekodzi, said the aircraft could be used for many activities, including surveillance, video coverage, mass spraying exercises and border patrols.
She encouraged parents to allow their children to be trained to pilot the light aircraft, saying it cost between $6000 and $9000 to be trained to pilot the aircraft.
Ms Nyekodzi was happy about the warm reception accorded her by residents of the metropolis, saying “Tamale is the best environment; the hospitality is so superb. In fact, I am so impressed and I would wish to spend more time here”.
The manager, who is currently the first female Ghanaian to hold the Ghana National Pilot Licence, piloted the CH701 aircraft throughout the 10 regions of the country with stopovers in Takoradi in the Western Region, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Wa in the Upper East Region, Tamale in the Northern Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


A Cattle herdsman who killed a colleague he suspected of stealing his ‘juju’ and GH¢10 was yesterday sentenced to death by hanging for murder by the High Court in Tamale.
A seven-member jury returned a unanimous veerdict of guilt of murder against Yakubu Bello, 24, for murdering his colleague, Mahamadu Fulani, at Fulanipe, a village near Salaga in the East Gonja District in the Northern Region.
The facts of the case, as presented by a Senior State Attorney, Mr Salia Abdul-Quddus, were that Bello and the deceased were both herdsmen employed by a cattle owner at Fulanipe.
Mr Abdul-Quddus had told the court, presided over by Mr Justice Laurent Mensah, that Bello and the deceased lived 300 metres away from where the kraal was located.
About 5:30 a.m. on March 2, 2004, the cattle owner visited the kraal to see how his employees were faring, but to his utter shock and surprise, he found Fulani dead and lying in a pool of blood.
According to the prosecution, the cattle owner then returned home and informed his sons about the incident and later returned to the kraal with his sons and because Bello was nowhere to be found, they decided to look for him.
They found Bello hiding in an obscure place of the kraal and he attempted to run away but they managed to arrest him and hand him over to the police.
The prosecution stated that Bello confessed that he had committed the crime and explained he killed his colleague because he had stolen his “juju” and GH¢10.


THE Northern Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Sumani Zakari, is dead.
The late Sumani, died at 1:00a.m. on Monday morning at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra where he was receiving treatment after he fell sick a couple of months ago. He was 75.
The late Chairman, affectionately called “suffer to gain” has since been buried in Tamale according to Islamic tradition. The late Sumani was born and bred in Tamale and comes from the Dakpema Royal Family in the metropolis. He left behind 29 children and four wives.
The late Alhaji Sumani became the Regional Chairman in 2005 and was instrumental in increasing the number of seats in Parliament in the region from 17 to 22 seats. It is also on record that he was efficient in harmonising the interests of all the factions that existed within the party in the region and supported the party tremendously to win the 2008 general election.
Apart from his political career, the late Sumani was a successful contractor, and commercial farmer with a good number of investments in Tamale including the ongoing plush hotel project in the metropolis.
When the Daily Graphic visited his house in Tamale, NDC party bigwigs in the region, including a former Northern Regional Minister, Mr Gilbert Iddi, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabenba,his Deputy, Mr San Nasamu Asabigi,the Metropolitan Chief Executive,Alhaji Haruna Friday, among others, had gathered at the deceased’s house to sympathise with the bereaved family and witness his burial. Family members and residents of the metropolis, including sympathisers of the NDC party had also thronged the house to mourn him. They described his death as shocking and noted that it had created a vacuum inhis family and the party.
The NDC Regional Organiser, Alhaji Abdulai Silimboma, described the late Alhaji Sumani as a strong leader both in his family and the party as a whole.
“His contribution to the Northern Region and the country as a whole cannot be quantified that is why we received the news of his death with shock”Alhaji Silimboma stated.
The NDC Regional Youth Organiser, Mr Adam Mohammed Abio, for his part, expressed regret that his demise was untimely since it happened at a time when the party needed him most.
“We need him to unite the party and to facilitate the implementation of the Better Ghana Agenda in the region” he explained.
According to Mr Abio, when the party was in opposition, the late Sumani solely financed the activities of the party in the region which the rank and file of the NDC could testify to.
The regional youth organiser further observed that the late Chairman of the party contributed immensely towards the NDC’s victory in the 2008 general election.
“I know many party sympathisers are with the NDC because of him and I must assure them that the leadership of the party in the region would not turn its back on them but would ensure that the foot prints of the late Sumani is followed”Mr. Abio stressed.
According to the Regional Treasurer of the party, Mr Tanko Computer, the party’s constitution allows for one of the two vice chairmen to act as regional chairman until a congress of the party.

Friday, November 12, 2010


WORKERS of the distressed Ghana Cotton Company Limited (GCCL) in Tamale, Tumu and Bolgatanga, have called for the dismissal of the current management of the company.
They accused the management of mismanaging the resources of the company, thereby collapsing it.
They, therefore, entreated the government to, as a matter of urgency, salvage the distressed company by appointing a new board of directors and a substantive managing director as part of measures to revamp it.
The workers stated this in a 11-point petition presented to the media in Tamale by Mr Raphael Zuanah, the chairman of the local union.
The workers alleged that the management had “illegally adjusted their respective salaries upward leaving the rest of the workers, thereby distorting the whole salary structure”.
They further stated that the management “procured expired and relabelled insecticides that had resulted in poor production and drained the company’s resources”.
They also claimed the management used borrowed monies meant for the company’s operations to “sponsor top management staff to undertake their executive Masters Programme at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), although most of them were due for retirement”.
“Car loans were given to about 11 management staff members at a time when the company was in financial crisis. They have also converted their leave into huge sums of money when they could not pay staff,” the workers alleged.
The workers were of the view that it was not necessary for the company to increase its management staff from 11 to 22 with huge salaries being paid to them, which could pay the rest of the staff.
A letter written and signed by the acting Managing Director of the company, Mr George Osieku, and copied to the local union chairman, senior staff, manager, corporate affairs and the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) admitted that the company was in financial crisis.
The letter, dated October 21, 2010, also acknowledged that “salaries have been unpaid for an unprecedented six months and as such the company is heavily indebted to customers for services rendered and supplies made to it”.
According to management, it had secured GH¢1 million from the Ministry of Finance, which had already been disbursed for the payment of the outstanding six months’ salaries.
The management, therefore, advised workers to exercise restraint “as any industrial disharmony throws all efforts at securing funds out of gear and scare potential investors”.
The Daily Graphic also gathered that Chemico Limited, one of the companies that the cotton firm was indebted to, had filed a writ at the Accra High Court to place an injunction on both movable and immovable properties of the firm to compel it to honour its indebtedness.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


UNEMPLOYMENT among the youth in the Tamale metropolis is to be addressed with the inauguration of a project to train more than 180 youth annually to acquire various vocational skills in the metropolis.
The project, estimated at GH¢40,000, is the brain child of the Northern Youth for Peace and Community Development (NYPCD), a non-governmental organisation.
As part of the initiative, the NYPCD will link the trainees to credit unions, rural banks and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to enable them to have access to credit facilities to establish their own businesses and to help market their produce.
For a start, 50 trainees have been registered to undergo two-year training in fashion and design, hairdressing, batik tie-dye making, shoe production and smock weaving. It is envisaged that the completion of the project would help curb the high rural-urban migration among the youth.
A facility housing the various units like workshop, hairdressing unit, leather works unit, stores, and equipment such as sewing machines, designing equipment, among others, have been acquired to kick-start the training.
The Director of the NYPCD, Mr Yussif Hamidu, told the Daily Graphic that facilities would be expanded in the years ahead to provide accommodation facilities to enable trainees to be housed at the NYPCD training centre.
“At the moment we have six instructors and I wish to appeal to donor partners, particularly the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), to assist us to pay these instructors” Mr Hamidu stated.
The director commended all those who in diverse ways supported the project, and made particular mention of Dr Valerie Sawyerr, the Deputy Chief of Staff, for her tremendous role in supporting the initiative.


WORK on the Kukuo Market complex in Tamale, also known as the Golden Jubilee Market, has stalled. The situation has been attributed to lack of funds.
The GH¢4.595 million project was awarded on contract in December 2008 as part of the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and was expected to be completed in March this year.
A visit to the project site by the Daily Graphic showed no sign of construction work going on as workers of the China State Hualong Construction Company that is executing the project were not available for comments. So far the project is at the foundation level and there was no sign of construction equipment at the site. The Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) is supervising the project.
The market is strategically located at Kukuo that is arguably one of the sprawling suburbs of the metropolis. It is envisaged that the completion of the project will help ease congestion at the Aboabu and Tamale Central markets.
When completed, the project would have a public parking lot, 402 shops, butchers’ shop, sanitary facilities, access roads, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre, a bank, security lights, revenue collection points, waste disposal sites and fire service facilities.
The Northern Regional Consultant of the AESL, Mr Anthony Baissana, told the Daily Graphic that the shops had been grouped into type A, B and C with offices attached.
According to him, the project would have three storey buildings that would house all the 402 shops.
Meanwhile residents of Kukuo have expressed disappointment at the delay in the execution of the project. They observed that most of them wanted to take advantage of the opportunity offered them and go into business.
They pointed out that the area was expanding rapidly in terms of population and hoped the requisite funding would be sourced to ensure the completion of the project.
The Public Affairs Officer of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA), Mr Issah Musah, also stated that the Kukuo Market project was strategic as it would ultimately increase commercial activities in the metropolis.


A Solar power system, capable of supplying 4.2 kilowatt of power to small and medium-scale industries, has been inaugurated at Benkrom in the Kintampo North District of the Brong Ahafo Region.
The facility, which cost GH¢55,000 was jointly financed by the Pure Company Limited, an agro-processing factory at Benkrom and the Energy Commission (EC) as part of the first phase of a pilot project to provide a total of 25 kilowatt of power to institutions and residential facilities.
Inaugurating the facility, a board member of the Energy Commission, Dr Francis Dakura, said the commission was determined to increase allocation from its Energy Fund to upscale the solar project.
He further explained that by early next year, an advertisement on the project would be placed in the newspapers for interested individuals and corporate bodies to submit proposals for consideration.
According to Dr Dakura, Ghana was endowed with renewable energy resources such as solar wind, biomass, among others, which could be harnessed for electricity generation.
‘The rate of exploitation of these resources except biomass, however, has not seen any significant progress despite several years of support from government and development partners” he pointed out.
The board member said that the EC was taking proactive measures under Act, 541 of 1997 to ensure the accelerated development and utilisation of the country’s renewable energy resources including solar.
He stated that the commission had, therefore, completed assessment of renewable energy resources of the country, and observed that preliminary results indicated that solar and wind energy resources abound in the country saying, “the coastal zone of the country had favourable wind resources estimated at 300 megawatts which could be tapped for commercial production of electricity”.
The board member intimated that the major factor that had limited the development of renewable energy was the absence of requisite legislative framework to propel its adoption and application.
“In view of this, the Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy has developed the Renewable Energy Bill, which is receiving Cabinet’s approval after which it will be tabled before Parliament for passage into Renewable Energy Law”, he added
The Executive Director of Pure Company, Mr John Addaquaye said the company embraced the pilot solar project as a strategy to reduce the cost of power consumed.
He announced that the company intended to look at other alternative energy solutions such as using shea waste to generate heat and electricity, adding that his outfit would consult the Ghana Energy Commission.
The Executive Secretary of the EC, Mr Ofosu Ahenkorah, encouraged Ghanaians to consider using solar energy since only 67 percent of rural communities had access to electricity with the remaining 33 percent of them without the facility.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Kintampo North, Mr Philip Ankomah, expressed optimism that the project would help reduce unemployment among the youth in the area.


Ghanaian refugees who fled the ethnic conflict in Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo for shelter in neighbouring Togo have all returned home.
The Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu, stated this when he led a team from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on a tour of Kambatiak and Gbankoni, the two communities most affected by the exodus.
“Intelligence reports indicate that the people have returned home and are cohabiting peacefully,” he told the media during the tour.
He, however, disputed the figure of 6,000 quoted by earlier reports, arguing that the population of the two communities put together was not up to that figure.
Also in the interior minister’s entourage were the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Magbenba, and the National Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Kofi Portuphy.
The visit to the two communities formed part of his maiden two-day tour of the region to acquaint himself with the security challenges of the area, as well as the flood situation at Buipe in the Central Gonja District.
“Sometime in May, this year, a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report indicated that there were 3,500 Ghanaian refugees in Togo and later the figure was increased to 3,600 and at the Geneva conference, it was said that there were 6,000 Ghanaian refugees in Togo. Why this?” he asked.
The minister entreated residents of the two communities to bury their differences to forestall such unfortunate situations.
“Let us comport ourselves because the name of Ghana is being dragged in the mud,” Mr Amidu advised the communities.
Mr Magbenba appealed to the people to avoid staying for long periods in Togo in order not to tarnish Ghana's reputation as a peaceful country.
The chief of Kambatiak, Marison Konlabonk, said it was true that there was a conflict in the area and some residents fled to Togo but stressed that almost all of them had returned home.

7 CLASSROOM PROJECTS HANDED OVER TO SCHOOLS ...In the Northern Region (PAGE 11, NOV 1, 2010)

SEVEN out of the 20 six-unit classroom projects which are meant to augment classroom facilities in selected senior high schools in the northern region have been completed and handed over to the beneficiary schools.
The initiative is expected to ease pressure on the limited classroom facilities in the beneficiary schools, particularly, as the schools have admitted fresh students for the 2010/11 academic year.
The projects are located at the Walewale Senior High School, Gambaga Senior High and Girls Schools, Zabzugu Senior High, Salaga Senior High and Islamic and Business Senior High Schools in Tamale. The projects were awarded on contract in June this year. The Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) supervised the projects.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the GH¢517,000 projects to the Islamic and Business Senior High Schools in Tamale, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Magbenba said the completion of the projects was a clear manifestation of the government’s resolve to address the inadequate classroom facilities in schools.
According to him, seven more of such projects would be completed in a week’s time and urged the beneficiary schools to take good care of the facilities.
“We are solving the problems gradually and I think by the close of November we would complete all the projects; for me we are just fulfilling our campaign promises,” he said.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Joseph Yeleh Chireh said the government was on course with the provision of the needed facilities to improve on quality education in the country.
He said the government was equally finding ways of motivating teachers to give of their best.
The Manager of Nana Nyarko Enterprise, Mr Albert Nyarko, said although the work encountered a few challenges at the Business Senior High School project site, it did not affect the quality of work.

GOVT APOLOGISES FOR NAKPANDURI EXCESSES...In hunt for hardened criminal (PAGE 3, NOV 1, 20100

THE Government has apologised to residents of Nakpanduri in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District in the Northern Region for any excesses that might have occurred during the recent police operation to arrest Johnson Soloma Kombian, a notorious jail-breaker.
The Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu, who conveyed the apology on behalf of the government, however, pointed out that “no government will allow such a hardened criminal to live among innocent citizens and be terrorising them” and gave the assurance that the police would use all legal means to apprehend Kombian, who is alleged to have recently killed two cops and injured one.
Mr Amidu conveyed the apology when he called on the Mamprugu chief, Nayiri Na Bohagu Mahami Abdulai, at his palace over the weekend as part of his maiden two-day tour of the region to assess the security and flood situation in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo and Central Gonja districts respectively.
He was accompanied on the tour by Mr Moses Magbenba, the Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Portuphy, National Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), and some representatives of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Mr Amidu thanked the Nayiri for the relative peace in the area and equally expressed concern about negative media reportage that suggested that there were thousands of Ghanaian refugees in neighbouring Togo.
Nayiri Abdulai observed that those who moved from Kambatiak and Gbankoni to Togo were mainly farmers.
He entreated chiefs in the two conflicting communities to bury their differences in order not to tarnish the image of the country.
The Nayiri further cautioned security agencies against discrimination in the performance of their duties, saying, “you must find a way of making friends with the people so that they can easily volunteer information to you”.
Meanwhile, irate residents of Nakpanduri were on the streets at the weekend to protest against what they described as “brutalities” meted out to them by the police when they conducted an operation to arrest Johnson Soloma Kombian.
The residents, clad in red attire and wearing red bands, also accused the police of looting their properties and beating up innocent people in their respective homes and workplaces.
The convoy of vehicles carrying the Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu, Mr Moses Magbenba, the Regional Minister, and other dignitaries, who visited the area to acquaint themselves with the security challenges of the area and to sympathise with the victims, had to move through the crowd at a snail's pace as residents virtually took over the streets.
The protest followed last Wednesday’s police exercise to arrest Kombian, whom the police described as a notorious jail-breaker and a hardened criminal.
As a result, about 20 houses were burnt down, including kiosks and stores, while some food stuffs were also destroyed by the fire. A number of persons also sustained injuries in the process.
Mr Amidu expressed the government’s preparedness to investigate the matter and resolve all issues.
“We are very sorry for the excesses by the police but I can assure you that we would lay this matter to rest,” the Minister added.


People accused of witchcraft at the Gnani Camp in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region have made a passionate appeal to human rights activists and civil society organisations to help them reunite with their families.
They said although they would love to go home to be reintegrated with their respective communities and families, they were afraid to do so due to the attitude of their community members.
The alleged witches made the appeal when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ActionAid International, Madam Joana Kerr, visited the camp as part of her one-day maiden working visit to the region.
She was accompanied on the visit by the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, Madam Adwoa Kluvitse.
The camp has a total population of 949 people made up of 269 women, 51 men and 629 children. Unlike other camps in the region, the Gnani Camp has both males and females who have been accused of witchcraft.
The alleged witches, some of whom had stayed in the camp for 15 years and more, complained about the circumstances that made the people banish them from their respective communities.
They attributed the accusations levelled against them by some community members to “envy and jealousy” and described them as “baseless and wrong”, stressing that it should be condemned.
“For me it was just my rival who accused me of witchcraft and so I was brought here” one of the women stated.
Others claimed because of their hard work they were accused of using people for ritual purposes, particularly when they fell sick or died.
Some of the alleged witches also claimed they were banished from their communities because some “spiritualists” claimed they were possessed with witchcraft, when they were taken to their shrines.
The alleged witches thanked ActionAid for their immense support and hoped other non-governmental organisations would emulate the gesture.
Madam Kerr said there was the need to ensure that children at the camp had access to quality education.
She said she was encouraged by the “strength of the women in spite of their predicaments.
The CEO said such accusations were “unfounded purely because they have not been verified by a competent court of jurisdiction”.
She called for urgent steps to help stop those “inhuman treatment of people because it is unfair and unjustified”.
Madam Kerr assured the alleged witches that ActionAid would do all it could to help change the negative perception about the society towards them, adding, “We are in solidarity with you and we are standing behind you in your struggle to safeguard your rights”.