CBOs IN NORTHERN REGION MAD AT FULANI NORMADS
Community Based Organisations (CBOs) under the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the Northern Region of Ghana, have ended a three day CBOs Festival in Tamale, with a call on government to get tough on the nefarious activities committed byFulani Herdsmen in the country.
Considering the fact that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols allow free movement of persons in member countries, they say the Fulani normads have gross disregarded for such protocols and the laws of Ghana, with some of them often taking the law into their own hands by causing serious apprehensions among citizens anywhere they settle.
Serious among some of the activities of the Fulani normads the CBOs mentioned, include raping of women in the bush or farms, killing women for ritual purposes, highway robbery, cattle rustling and causing serious land disputes in communities in which they reside.
The Fula or Fulani is an ethnic group residing in many countries of West Africa. They are concentrated principally in Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroun, Senegal and Niger, though they are also spread throughout Mauritania, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, La Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Central African Republic, Ghana, Chad, Liberia and as far as Sudan in the East of Africa.
Although the festival was organised for CBOs under GDCA it also brought those of other NGOs in the region such as SEND Ghana, GHANEP or WANEP-Ghana, ActionAid-Ghana and among others, to deliberate on pertinent issues that affect development in the area.
According to the Programme Officer of Ghana Network for Peace-building (GHANEP), also known as the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP-Ghana), Melody Azinim, information gathered from GHANEP’s interface meetings with government agencies have given a great cause for concern in recent times, especially in the Brong Ahafo, Volta, Eastern, Northern, Upper East and West Regions.
This issue she noted, has exacerbated with the influx of Fulani Herdsmen into the country due to the gradual expansion of the Sahara desert and so the need to search for greener pastures.
Mrs. Azinim noted that the resultant effect is a competition for scarce natural resources such as access to water bodies and lands for grazing, adding “this has long proved to be problematic for the maintenance of law, order, peace and security”.
She suggested that communities and districts under whose jurisdiction these Fulani herdsmen visit should enact bye-laws that will strictly control the entry and exit of the migrant Fulani herdsmen and also monitor and track their movements within the communities.
The GHANEP Programme Officer opined that special units within the security agencies could be created to particularly track the activities of these Fulani to make sure they do not continue to constitute a threat to the Ghanaian society.
She also warned that Municipal and District Assemblies should not use revenue mobilization as an excuse for keeping migrant Fulani, stressing that chiefs and land owners should stop taking bribes in order to harbour the Fulani herdsmen in their areas.
The CBO Sub-Committee Chairman of GDCA, Husein Sulemana Haruna in a statement, cautioned communities to be mindfulof the capacities and relevance of all institutions that are established to provide various services to them as a people. “We should ensure that service providers in the elected representatives in those who occupied public office will acount for their stewardship”, he emphasised.
Mr. Haruna who is also the Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) informed the general public about the impending population and housing census for 2010 which shall take place in the last quarter of this year.
He said “as you are aware, population census provide basic data for the distribution of national cake, location of industries, construction of roads, creation of administrative districts and constituencies. We should all therefore take this exercise seriously to make sure that every human being living in Ghana at the census night is enumerated”, Mr. Haruna stressed.
The 2010 CBOs Annual Regional Festival is a platform where development experts come together to discuss challenges facing grassroot development and share ideas or experiences on how to overcome these challenges with concerted efforts. This year, the third edition of the festival was organized on the theme: “The role of CBOs in accelerating development in Northern Region”.
The Festival was aimed at advocating on issues that affect accelerated grassroot development in the Northern Region and encouraging networking among CBOs and other informal groups as well as expose the activities of CBOs for potential partnerships and collaborations.