Mr. Alex Tetteh-Enyo, Education Minister
About 600 first-cycle pupils in Bolgatanga on Wednesday registered their abhorrence of the fragile peace in the three Northern Region.
This, they did by defying a downpour to undertake “a street walk for peace,” particularly in Bawku and Dagbon.
Some of them carried placards with inscriptions such as “Stop the violence”, “Let’s promote peace and unity,” “Peace brings development,” “No victor in war,” among others.
Organised by the Bolgatanga Chapter of the Ghana Association of Private Schools (GAPs), the pupils marched through some streets of Bolgatanga with their messages.
The march was also to draw public attention, including agencies and civil society organisations, to the need to continue to promote peace in trouble spots in the north.
Mrs Lucy Awuni, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, in an address read on her behalf by Madam Grace Nkaw, a member of the Bawku Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee, stressed the need for parents to instill in children the attitude of tolerance right from birth.
That, she said, would enable peace to be part of the children’s life which they would never depart from.
The Deputy Regional Minister expressed concern that the conflicts in Bawku and Dagbon had been in existence for long with their attendant effects especially on children, women and other vulnerable people.
She lamented that many of the youth, who constituted the hope of the nation’s future had fled the conflict zones, at the expense of their education while some had fallen victim to rape and defilement.
Mrs Awuni observed that peace was an essential ingredient and noted that no investor would invest in communities where there is no peace.
She advised the pupils to join peace clubs in their schools and get involved in peace-building activities, encouraging them to learn to use polite words such as ‘sorry’ ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in their own small ways.
Pe Joseph B. Afagachie II, paramount chief of Nakong Traditional Area, asserted that chiefs had a crucial role to play in keeping and building peace in their communities.
He explained that lack of peace in an area increases the risks of doing business there and also wastes resources which could otherwise be used for development in peace-keeping operations.
Pe Afagachie commended the organisers of the street walk for their effort and the school pupils for turning out in their numbers for it.
Mr Josef Kris Akubah, director of Great Victory Academy, in a welcome address stressed that the lack of peace in Bawku and Dagbon was of great concern to the Bolgatanga Chapter of GAPs.
“It is in this regard that the street walk was organised to enable the association register its protest against the conflicts in those areas,” he said.
He said it was regrettable that the three Northern Regions considered as the poorest and the most deprived should always be engaged in conflict thereby worsening their plight.
Mr Akubah therefore called on parents, teachers, opinion leaders and all stakeholders to contribute their quota towards the attainment of total peace in the north.