The Regent of Tolon, retired Major Sulemana Abubakar has warned the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to tread cautiously in its handling of the land boundary issue between the Wassipe traditional area in Gonjaland and the Tolon traditional area.
Major Sulemana accused the government of trying to ignite an ethnic conflict between the two traditional areas, adding that he was not joking. He went on to assail the government of playing with fire and warned that its lukewarm attitude could lead to big trouble with ominous consequences for peace in the north.
The retired major, who did not mince words during the ministry of Information’s town hall meeting, alleged that government had taken portions of his land and without consulting chiefs in his area, unilaterally added them to the Wassipe traditional area, adding that about 800 acres of land had been sold or leased to some foreign investors for 25 years. Peasant farmers, he explained, lost their farm lands without compensation.
He again cited instances where another 25 acres of land was also sold to foreign investors for the cultivation of mango and cashew.
He entreated the District Chief Executive for Tolon, Mrs. Balkisu Abukari, who is the district security committee’s chairperson to take his warning seriously and relay the information to the Regional Minister or they will have themselves to be blame for the eruption of violence in the area.
The Tolon regent, who swore to the Almighty Allah to show his seriousness on the issue, said he has written to officials at both the district and national levels to draw their attention to the issue and is yet to receive any response from the government.
He said: “I am giving government a one-month ultimatum to address the issue or there will be war; I am serious, I am very serious,"the retired major emphasized.
He stated emphatically that the Wassipe traditional area has no land in the eastern part of the Daboya river, but rather it is the Tampulmas.
"I petitioned the local government minister and the minister of regional re-organization about a month ago," the retired major stated.
But responding to the looming danger, the Tolon DCE pleaded with the visibly angry Tolon chief to continue exercising patience and also calm down his people, while government takes steps to find an amicable solution to the raging problem.
The DCE stated that the regional coordinating council has directed both the Tolon and North Gonja district assemblies to hold a joint-district security committee meeting to use dialogue rather, instead of violent means to address the issue.