Mill's calls on Bawku to restore past glory

President John Evans Atta Mills has urged the people of Bawku to restore the glory of the Township by co-existing peacefully, saying Bawku had a glorious history and name that needed to be restored. This was contained in a speech read for him by the Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Joseph Smith at the "Samanpiid' festival of the chiefs and people of the Kusaug Traditional Area on Tuesday at Bawku. The festival, which coincided with the Silver Jubilee of the enskinment of the Bawku Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, was on the theme; "25 years of Progressive Leadership; Successes, Challenges and Prospects". President Mills said Bawku was a unique Municipality because it was the only town that shared boundaries with Burkina Faso and Togo and is used as transit point by vehicles going to Niger. He said no Municipality or District had this opportunity and appealed to the two feuding factions in the area to bury their differences for peace to prevail. President Mills said Bawku used to be one of the areas where economic activities boomed and opened up a lot of employment avenues for the people and generated huge internal revenue for the Government. He appealed to Kussasis and Mamprusis to reflect on and ponder over the amount of money that was being spent in keeping the peace in the area and said such monies could have been used for infrastructure development including schools and health facilities. President Mills said the Government was committed to ensuring that peace returned to the area and that was why it was committing many resources into restoring peace to the area. He said unless the people in the area cultivated a culture of peace, harmony and good neighbourliness Government's efforts would amount to nothing. "It is the combined efforts of the Government and the citizens of Bawku that can together ensure lasting peace in the area. Genuine and lasting peace generally originates from within and not without", President Mills said. He appealed to factions that have withdrawn from the Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee to rescind their decision and to return to the Committee so that whatever grievances they have could be resolved by the Regional Coordinating Security Council and the Municipal Security Council for peace to prevail. Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, commended security personnel deployed to the Municipality for maintaining the peace and urged them to continue to exhibit a high sense of professionalism in the discharge of their duties. He appealed to the people of Bawku to cooperate with the security agencies to maintain peace whilst a lasting solution was found to the conflict. Mr Woyongo said the United Nations had instituted a human security programme in conflict prone areas in the three Northern Regions to enhance human security through developing local capacity for holistic community based conflict prevention. Naba Abugrago Azoka said the festival was not only celebrated to give thanks to Gods for bumper harvest and blessings for the coming year but was also used to bring the people in the area together for the purposes of peace and unity and to plan towards the development of the area. He said under his education endowment fund, 6,700.00 Ghana cedis was used to sponsor needy but brilliant students in schools and that he had also helped to ensure that there was gender parity when it came to education in his traditional area. Naba Abugrago Azoka said his Traditional Council had outlawed obnoxious cultural practices including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), tribal marks and had reduced the cost of bride price in traditional marriages from four cows to two to make it easier for the youth to get married. He appealed to the Government to implement the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) projects in the area to create employment for the youth.