THE Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, has called on all nationals from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), particularly Fulanis living in the country not to take undue advantage of the ECOWAS Protocol and the usual Ghanaian hospitality to perpetrate crime.
He said any negative behaviour would not be tolerated and the laws of the country would deal ruthlessly with any perpetrator.
He, therefore, called on the Fulani community, especially their herdsmen living in parts of the Brong Ahafo Region, who in recent times, have taken the laws of the country into their own hands to reverse the trend or be dealt with accordingly.
He, therefore, urged the Fulani herdsmen to peacefully co-exist with members of their host communities to guard against any breaches of the laws of the country.
Mr Opoku made the call at separate meetings with the chiefs and people of Dorbor, a farming community in the Tain District in the Brong Ahafo Region, and the Fulani herdsmen resident in the area last Monday.
The meeting, which was convened at the instance of the Brong Ahafo Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and headed by the Deputy Regional Minister, was to avert any possible clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and their Ghanaian counterparts in the area.
Tension in the area, according to security operatives, was at fever pitch following the continuous destructive activities of the Fulani herdsmen and their grazing cattle.
In attendance were the Tain District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Samuel Jones Tawiah, and his counterpart for Jaman North, Hajia Amina Amadu.
The two districts share a common boundary and any violent clashes in the Tain District might spill over to the latter.
Mr Opoku commended the chiefs and people of Dorbor, especially the youth, for not taking the law into their own hands to cause any mayhem, but resorted to a peaceful means to resolve the conflict between them and the Fulani herdsmen.
“ I am happy to say that if all Ghanaians in every part of the country would resort to dialogue in settling any dispute or conflict as the chiefs and people of Dorbor had done, there would not be any need for the state to spend large chunk of its resources on internal peace-keeping operations,” he said.
Mr Opoku, therefore, urged the people to continue to exercise restraint as they had done in the past in the face of extreme provocation by the Fulanis herdsmen.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, in a response to an appeal for the extension of electricity and the rehabilitation of roads linking the area to the district capital and other marketing centres, said the area was part of the district-wide electrification project, while the assembly and the central government were also taking steps to repair the roads in the area as soon as possible before the rainy season this year.
He noted that based on this, the District Security Committee (DISEC) held a meeting, deliberated on the issue and took a decision until recently when the matter nearly degenerated into violent clashes between the people and the Fulani herdsmen in the area.
Mr Tawiah said following the tension in the area, the DISEC decided to inform the REGSEC to step in to ensure that peace prevailed in the area, hence the visit of the REGSEC delegation.
He said the district had already purchased a grader for the maintenance of roads in the district, which the assembly was yet to take delivery of, and when it arrived, the roads in the area would be given a priority.
The Assembly member for the area, Mr Joseph Kwadwo Yeboah, earlier in his welcoming address, appealed to the government as a matter of urgency to flush out the Fulani herdsmen from the area for peace to prevail, since their continued stay in the area might lead to violent clashes.
He said apart from the destruction of farmlands, human lives had not been spared as their stray cattle attacked and killed people on their farms, citing the death of one Sualiho, as well as the heavy fines imposed on innocent people being accused of killing their animals without evidence, which had also led to the death of one Yaw Mossi.