They have also be called upon to identify key neutral opinion leaders to constantly sensitise, educate and create awareness for people in conflict areas for growth and development to thrive.
Yidana Zakaria, the North East Regional Minister, who made the call in Tamale at a stakeholder meeting, organised by the National Development Authority (NDA) explained that it was necessary to seek engagements from neutral bodies in curbing conflicts among communities within the northern belt of the country.
The meeting was to co-create a Medium Term Development strategy for the northern zone of the country in alignment with strategic priorities of development actors and to share insights in planning the 2022 edition of the Northern Ghana Development Summit and Investment Fair.
It was attended by the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper West and Upper East Regional Ministers, and the NDA’s development partners.
Mr Zakaria lamented that some of such conflicts were fueled by traditional authorities, opinion leaders and litigants who were expected to foster unity, peace, stability, harmony and cohesion within communities but unfortunately, took sides so as to prolong such conflicts.
He said the intermittent communal conflicts in the north had been a concern over the years and hindered progress, growth and development in the areas of tourism, education and health and stressed on continuous sensitisation, education and creation of awareness on the effects of conflicts in vulnerable areas.
“Intervention from opinion leaders and religious bodies within the communities to sensitise, educate and create awareness of people on the dire consequences of conflicts can resolve them amicably 676 when the litigants are aware they will be neutral in resolving them.
“Until we are able to address the issues of conflict in the northern part of the country, we will continue to wallow in situations of poverty and its effects so I advise my brothers and sisters to embrace unity, peace, stability and acknowledge that they are instrumental in progress, growth and development since a problem in a small community within the north can compromise the development of the region.
“The international community will not be pleased to know areas they wanted to support and assist are engaged in conflicts and I appeal to indigenes to safeguard the peace, unity, harmony, cohesion and stability of the north to avoid the displeasure of our people running to the southern part of the country after creating problems for those of us residing in the north,” Mr Zakaria decried.