|Cosmos Sarpong, Spokes Person|
Residents of Nkonya led by the youth of the area has carried out their promise to hold a news conference as an alternative move to a demonstration which was stopped a fortnight ago by Police and Military in the area.
The Nkonya people represent a faction in dispute with Alavanyo over a piece of land for the past 90 years. Their press conference which could be likened to mini-demonstration was attended by over 600 residents who converged at Nkonya Nchumuru for the petition to be read.
The residents represented under a group called; Coalition of Orphans, Widows and Victims of Nkonya-Alavanyo Conflict, in their petition appealed to the President to institute an investigation into the activities of the Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) in relation to protracted communal conflict and the peace process.
Reading the petition, the spokesperson, Cosmos Sarpong claimed that the REGSEC since September 2013 was thwarting efforts by an NGO; Youth for Peace and Security Africa, YPS-AFRICA which started a peace building process among the people of both Nkonya and Alavanyo.
He added that some people seem to be profiteering from the conflict. There by resulting in the in the seemingly lukewarm attitude of the government in resolving the 90 year old conflict.
The group also questioned the essence of the 14 hour curfew, which they say had rather increased the spate of attacks. They said, the curfew only “exposes us to more danger, poverty, harassment and economic hardship.”
To this end they called on government to also provide better security and education by reviewing the curfew. They also reminded the President of his promise made to them on 7thAugust, 2013 when he visited the area. According to them, their smiles, hopes and aspirations had been waned after the President’s promise turned out to be a mere rhetoric.
Failure to do the above or delay in granting their request will live them with no option than to take their security into their hands by defending themselves against the unknown gunmen. They will also go against the curfew that is sucking their livelihood from them. Finally they will also “expose all those people making money out of this conflict whiles innocent people are dying.”
But in a strong response, the Volta Regional Minister, Helen Adwoa Ntoso who is also the Chairperson of REGSEC has describes the claims as ridiculous. She noted that if the REGSEC members were profiteering why would they commit more men to the area.
“Do you know that an additional 30 Policemen have been sent to the area from Accra, Do you know how much it costs to feed and cater for the security in the area?” she quizzed.
In relation to the YPS-Africa claim, she said no NGO can be allowed to work in isolation in the Nkonya-Alavanyo conflict, except if that organization is working with the recognized Regional and National Peace Council.
On the curfew hours and security, Madam Ntoso noted that the actions of the feuding parties had to their current situation and that “peace cannot prevail until the people themselves realize that what they are doing is wrong and have to unite and jaw-jaw.”
She said “if they want the security to be in the bush, then government will look at that critically.”
She lamented how the curfew had negatively affected a road construction at Alavanyo. She commended the youth for coming out and urged them to urge their people, including their leaders to closely work with the REGSEC and the Peace Council to restore peace to the area.