Political interference in land dispute between Nimoro & Lobi-Dagaaba settlers
We the youth of Nimoro and Buwaa earlier petitioned the Upper West Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Sissala West Constituency on this subject on 23/05/2016. But for more emphasis, we are demonstrating today for our dear President, John Dramani Mahama to step in by advising his appointees (District Chief Executive and the Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Sissala West Constituency). Your Excellency, this is because;
1. Fielimuo is a multi-settler community made up of several ethnic groups. Fielimuo situation is not different from other settler communities in Ghana such as Kintampo, Hamile, Ejura, and Aboabo. The Fielimuo settlement on Nimoro land is of relatively recent time. History has it that, the Lobi-Dagarti fled from Mangangne around 1927/28 as a result of the atrocities of their leader – chief Dernyu and the hardships of French Colonial Administration as well as a severe famine that broke out in that part of Burkina Faso.
2. Following Ghana’s independence, the Local Government Ministry issued a circular on 16th April, 1958 with reference No. MLG.4900/109/SF.5/30 and it was entitled “Recognition of Headmen of stranger communities”. The circular reads as ‘…Government has decided to exercise some control over stranger communities in towns and villages and it has therefore been decided that in order to effect such control, all heads of stranger communities should be required to register with Government Agents of their respective district…..’ In compliance with the directives, the then Sissala district government agent recorded among others, the names of Danikuu (Dargati); Issah Walla (Wala); Zato (Moshie); and IssakaGrushie (Grushie) as strangers’ settler headmen at Fielimuo.
3. Your Excellency, we recall with pains, how politicians in power over the years have emasculated our less enlightened and illiterate traditional leaders whilst at the same time cunningly propping up some communities, especially the majority Lobi settlers on Nimoro land in order to gain electoral advantage. The political game where politicians go to the settler communities to make promises which are of customary and traditional nature for electoral gains have continued till date.
4. This has always been demonstrated clearly by the Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Upper West and Sisaala West Constituency respectively. In December 2014, a Court of Competent Jurisdiction (Wa High Court) placed an injunction on the celebration of “Kuku Bagre” a Lobi-Dagaaba settler’s festival at Fielimuo but the Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Sisaala West disregarded the order and participated actively in the celebration and chose not to attend Buwala Kelwie Festival even though he was duly invited. This is just to show the level of discrimination the minister has towards the land owners and the people of Buwaa for obvious reasons.
5. It is alleged that he finances the Defendant [the Lobi-Dagarti] in court over the dispute over the landownership between the allordial landowners and Lobi-Dagarti due to electoral gains.
6. The Minister through government institutions has created a culture of impunity in the Nimoro Divisional area. The Sisaala landowners’ animals have been killed and farm lands were seized as well as destruction of food crops by the Lobi-Dagarti and no arrest has so far been made. Government operatives and agencies have displayed opened bias towards the Sisaala people as far as we are concerned.
7. The Lobi-Dagarti petitioned the Regional House of Chiefs through the Regional Minister, Hon. Alhaji Amidu Sulemani indicating that Nimoro Division should not be elevated to a paramountcy status which led to an abrupt suspension of the process on 25/5/2016. They did this because they knew that the Minister is seen as the conduit to achieve their parochial interest.
8. Your Excellency, in as much as we the youth appreciate the efforts of Government to bring development to the people; it ought to be done with proper consultation. Government efforts should not be seen to be discriminatory and divisive and an election oriented to canvass votes. The Nimoro R/C Primary/JHS, Fielimuo L/A Primary/JHS and the Fielimuo Church [Parish] all in Fielimuo were built after the land had been released by the Nimoro allodial owners of the land. It is therefore, sad to notice that in similar ventures, government operatives within the district wanted to site SHS without following due process. We the youth are therefore scared if care is not taken the sad incident that occurred between the people of Mirigu and Kandiga in the Upper East Region in 2008 as a result of the siting of a health facility will occur here in the Nimoro Division.
9. Following a similar case in 2014, the Sisaala Landlords [Tietinawa] poured libation and cut the sod for the commencement and building of three (3) CHIP Compounds at Kuochuuri, Kankaduoli and Chetu. What has then changed to warrant this total disregard for the status quo? By this action, is it that the land occupied by the Lobi-Dagarti is owned by the Lobi settlers in Fielimuo? This is certainly NO. It is therefore contemptuous to site a school at Fielimuo without recourse to the Sisaala landowners and /or the determination of the dispute in the High Court.
10. Besides, the ownership to the land occupied by Fielimuo and its environs is under determination in the High Court at Wa and until that is done, any move to site a school in Fielimuo without following due process would worsen the already fragile peace in the area. We have had enough of this naked discrimination as far as the determination of the matter in the Court is concerned.
11. Your Excellency, the Lobi-Dagartis have made several attempts to change the names of installations in the Fielimuo Area such as Nimoro R/C Primary and JHS to St. Aquinas Primary/JHS schools; Buo to Mbo; Bupal to Bukpal with aim of re-writing the history of the area. In all these, we have been calm and exhibited non-violent posture.
In the light of this historical exposition of Fielimuo and its occupants, we therefore state without doubt in our minds that
1. Nobody can claim landowner besides the alordial landowners of Nimoro.
2. The Youth of Nimoro Division in particular and Buwaa in general express our grave concern over the lack of due process in the siting of the proposed Senior High Technical School at Fielimuo by the government without consulting the landowners of Nimoro. The authorities concerned should follow due process so that collectively we support Government in its quest to bring education to the door steps of the people.
3. We shall resist with our blood if this culture of impunity continue to exist. Where in a matter of criminal cases, perpetuators are not arrested, we will advise ourselves. And nobody should blame us.
4. As a result of government operatives’ support, the Lobi-Dagarti people have perpetually disrespected the very people that settled them. And hence forth, we will not accept this gross disrespect from anybody.
5. We are deeply disturbed that failure to resolve these issues would:
a) Create security problems in the area;
b) Create conflict among the Sisaala and Lobi-Dagarti people;
c) Bring disunity among the communities.
Therefore, we wish to clearly state that due process should be followed to avert untoward reaction by the people of Nimoro Divisional Area and Buwaa in general. We appreciate your support and prompt resolution of the dispute between the conflict parties in the area.
The District Chief Executive
Sisaala West District – Gwollu.
The Regional Minister
Upper West Region, Wa.
Abdul-Rauf-Zini (Vice Pres)
Buwaa Dev. Association
Bentoh Solomon [member]
Youth of Nimoro Division
Chommbui Micheal [member]
Youth of Nimoro Division
Peace Council, Wa
Buwaa Traditional Council, Zini
BNI – Sisaala West District