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"Stop Selling School Lands" - Minister

2007-05-31 20:31:27
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Northern Regional Minister
Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, the Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to chiefs not to sell government and school lands to property developers.

He said some chiefs in the Northern Region had become so corrupt that they were selling skin property, particularly land, for their own parochial interest instead of the good of the people for whom they hold the land in trust.

Alhaji Idris was addressing a General Meeting of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs in Tamale.

He said the practice of selling land by chiefs "has become so rampant that having sold all available free land, chiefs now shamelessly resort to nibbling at school lands and other government acquired land, making it impossible for such schools to expand".

He therefore appealed to those in the habit of selling the lands to stop their nefarious and anti-social activities and rather help to demarcate and preserve such school lands for posterity.

The Regional Minister also noted with regret that the institution of chieftaincy, once the emblem of peace and unity, had become the source of division, violence and confusion resulting in chiefs’ fast losing control over their subjects.

Alhaji Idris said such a situation had arisen because chiefs had neglected laid down and time tested procedures in nominating and enthroning chiefs resulting in an array of pretenders and false king makers who are bought by money to defend the indefensible and untenable.

He therefore appealed to traditional authorities to abide by the truth and the guidelines left by their predecessors to avoid litigation and protracted court cases.

"Chiefs are not above the law and anybody who infringes the law and causes a breach of law and order will be dealt with like any ordinary person".

Alhaji Idris urged chiefs to unite their people to fight against the common enemies of poverty, disease and ignorance adding that government on its part through the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) was creating jobs for the youth with the aim of reducing poverty.

He assured the chiefs that the government was committed to rehabilitating the Tamale Teaching Hospital and in this regard had signed an agreement of 43 million US dollars with the Dutch government.

Alhaji Idris said the total amount needed for the rehabilitation of the hospital was 70 million US dollars.

He also urged the traditional leaders to support the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and encourage their people to register with the scheme to enable them access affordable health care.

Na Bohugu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, (Nayiri), the President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, said the Regional Advisory Information Network System (RAINS) a Tamale Based NGO had supported the house and traditional councils under a grant aid scheme to establish kraals in four traditional councils.

He said the initiative, which was aimed at improving the financial resource base of the councils, would also relive the over burdened financial problem always put on district assemblies by traditional councils.

RAINS has also put up a resource centre in the Regional House of Chiefs to enhance the capacity of traditional rulers to link up with the rest of the world.

He asked NGOs not to be apprehensive of chiefs but rather partner with them in building their capacities with the requisite resources to carry out their activities.

Na Sheriga appealed to lawyers who appear before judicial committees of the house to stop asking for frequent adjournments to enable the committees to dispose of cases on time as they were draining the meager resources of the House.

Na Sheriga consoled victims of the rainstorm disaster that hit the Tamale Metropolis on April 21 and appealed to the disaster relief committee set up to distribute items to the affected people to be fair.

source: GNA

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