By: Nana Achiaa Aboagye
A group calling itself the Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, as well as other civil society groups say they are ready to support government, engage in constructive dialogue and collaborate on initiatives to prevent further violence between Fulanis and communities in the Upper East Region.
The groups addressed the media at a news conference in Accra on the root causes of the clashes. Their aim is to foster a culture of peace and unity.
The herder-farmer conflict has existed for long across sub-Sahara Africa. The conflict occurs when a herd of cattle graze on farms and trample on crops in farmlands. Herders and farmers often go on a collision course when this happens.
Such clashes have occurred recently among pastoralists and farming communities in Northern Ghana.
The Fulanis in Ghana say they are unhappy about how they are stereotyped as being lawless and uncivil. According to them, about 120 able-bodied men, mostly Fulanis, have been lynched in the past six years on accusations of theft, desecration of lands and murder, which cannot be substantiated.
The Executive Director of Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, Adib Saani said as advocates for peace, human rights and social justice, they recognize the urgent need to address the root causes of violence and promote inclusive approach that foster dialogue, understanding and respect for diversity.
He emphasized that it has become crucial for all stakeholders including the government, security agencies, civil society organizations and the media to come together to address this issue collectively.
He called for a comprehensive and inclusive approach that upholds human rights principles, ensures the protection of all citizens and promote peaceful coexistence among different ethnic and religious groups.
He urged the government to prioritize initiatives that promote social cohesion, inter ethnic dialogue and understanding among diverse communities. He admonished the media to be security-sensitive in their reportage.
The President of the Fulani Chiefs, Chief Alhaji Iddrius Mohammed Bingle admonished the Fulani community to cooperate with the law enforcement and not to take matters into their hands.
He urged Fulanis to demonstrate outstanding leadership and be committed to resolving the conflict for the development of Ghana.
The President of the Ghana Association of Cattle Farmers, Iman Hanafi called for the implementation of by-laws and policies established by government to be able to deal with the herder-farmer conflict in the country.
He said there is the need for a collective effort to fight and put strong laws in all areas where conflicts are happening in order to enhance peace and stability.
The National Coordinator for Women in Small-scale Livestock Breeders, Hajia Adiza Ummar said women and children are seriously affected anytime there is a clash. Hajia Adiza emphasized that some women become pathetic especially after the death of their husband. He pleaded with the government, Civil Society organizations and International organizations to come to the aid of vulnerable women and children in the local communities by providing higher security measures, extended education and rehabilitation schemes for victims of injustice in the local communities.
She said children deserve a better future hence, the need to provide an enabling environment to help them to compete with their counterparts in other parts of the country.
The General Secretary of a civil society group – Tabital Pulaaku International, Yakubu Musah Braay said there is the need to create a society where no group feels marginalized or unprotected.
Mr. Yakubu Musah Braay urged government and other stakeholders including the diplomatic community to promote reconciliation, social cohesion and justice.
He called for proactive measures to save the country from violent extremism.