AT LONG last, the chiefs and people of two Konkomba communities; Nakpando and Gbadagbam, all in the Saboba District of the Northern Region have resolved amicably a land dispute that ensued between the two communities in 2011 and led to loss of two lives and injuries to others.
Until 2011, Nakpando and Gbadagbam communities had lived peacefully, inter-married and performed socio-cultural activities together.
Before the conflict started, children from both communities grew up to know that they were one and the same people, as they shared one school – St. Mary’s Primary School for decades – shared water bodies and farm boundaries together.
However, the eruption of the conflict between the two neighbouring communities tore them apart and they lost their oneness and the bond that once existed between them.
But in his bid to reunite the two communities, Most Rev. Vincent Sowah Boi-na, the Catholic Bishop of the Yendi Diocese in the Northern Region, early this year commissioned Fr. Aazine Nibetol Nicholas, SVD, stationed in Saboba, as a mediator to lead a process that would resolve the issue.
Subsequently, a committee of elders, opinion and traditional leaders from Nakpando and Gbadagbam, as well as selected religious leaders and security officers was put in place.
Members of the committee, including Fr. Nibetol, SVD, held a series of meetings, discussed thoroughly the need for the feuding communities to allow peace to prevail, by peacefully settling their impasse.
Each time the committee sat, members of both sides also met with their leaders afterwards to try and convince them to agree for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. When it was finally clear that both sides were ready for the resolution of the conflict after those discussions, a date was fixed and a durbar of chiefs and people of Nakpando and Gbadagbam communities was held.
In attendance were the Saboba District Police Command, Konkomba Youth Association (KOYA), paramount chief of Saboba Traditional Area, Member of Parliament for Saboba, Mr. Charles Bintin, former Northern Regional Minister and Ghana’s immediate past Ambassador to Angola, His Excellency Moses Bukari Magbengba and some well-meaning personalities from Saboba. It was graced by the Most Rev. Vincent Sowah Boi-Na.
In his remarks, Fr. Nibetol, SVD, said he was grateful to his spiritual superior for giving him the challenge and also to the committee and members of the communities for accepting him and cooperating with him to mediate and bring finality to the conflict.
He reminded them that their common enemy was nothing but poverty and they could only fight it if they were united.
His Excellency Magbengba, also a native of Nakpando, recounted how he ordered the district assembly to ban the two communities from farming on the then disputed parcel of land, when he was the regional minister. He explained that he did so to avert a possible escalation of the conflict and to pave way for settlement.
He was, therefore, grateful to the Catholic priest for his intervention and cautioned members of the two communities, especially the youth, not to do anything untoward that could affect the gains that had been achieved.
Mr. Charles Bintin, MP for Saboba, was of the view that what happened between the two communities was shameful because such things were alien to Konkombas in Saboba. He was, therefore, happy that the matter was eventually resolved and urged the people not allow that to ever happen again.
Most Rev. Sowah Boi-Na, the initiator of the peace process, said peace is what everyone should desire and if conflicts ensue, dialogue should be used to settle them.
He witnessed the signing of a peace deal between the two communities, led by their chiefs. Other dignitaries, including Mr. Bintin also signed the peace deal as witnesses.
Excerpts of the peace deal;
Ubor Ngarbi Uwumbornyi II of Gbadagbam and Ubor Gman-Yeri Baapi of Nakpando read: “…we also want to stress emphatically that any person or group of persons who would take the law into their own hands or in any way destabilize the peace in the area would be exposed and thrown to the appropriate authorities for sanction.”
He observed that in most instances when conflict resolution processes take place, there are no documentations to that effect. This, he said, does not help because there was nothing to bind the parties involved to stay committed to the settlement deal.
He was, therefore, happy that in this instance, there was a peace deal signed by the chiefs of the two communities and witnessed by prominent leaders.
There was cultural dance and a purification sacrifice to signify the end of any bitterness between the two communities and among their people. The youth of the two communities also played soccer games.
The Paramount Chief for the Saboba Traditional Area, Ubor Ckek Binalibemi Kambonja I, who also signed the peace deal as a witness, thanked all the stakeholders for their efforts in restoring peace to area.
From William Nlanjerbor JALULAH,