There is uneasy calm in the Nanung traditional town of Bimbilla after a member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Julius Ansah finally ruled on a 15-year-old protracted chieftaincy dispute.
The five justices unanimously dismissed a petition by the Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni’s faction (the petitioners) challenging the legitimacy of the occupant of the Bimbilla skin, Naa Andani Dasana Abdulai (the defendants).
Ahead of the ruling, the government dispatched a combined team of military and police to Bimbilla to beef up security in the town.
Up until the ruling, the town had remained quiet with both sides anxiously awaiting the decision. Residents in the area, Zaa News sources gathered, were going about their normal daily activities until after mid-day today when the supreme court’s ruling got to town.
Our sources say even though Bimbilla remains relatively peaceful, people started gathering at places and grumbling.
There is heavy military and police presence at palaces of both sides, the sources added. Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni, a matrilineal great grandson to the Bimbilla Skin lineage first challenged the legitimacy of the defendant, a patrilineal grandson to the Bimbilla skin, before the Nayiri, overlord of Mamprugu, and lost the case.
Subsequently, he appealed the ruling of the Nayiri at the Regional and National House of Chiefs and lost in both fora.
Not satisfied with the ruling of the two house of Chiefs, the petitioner proceeded to the Supreme Court to seek redress.
The presiding judge and his four colleagues, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice Yaw Apaw and Justice Gabriel Pwamang in the judgement read by Justice Pwamang affirmed the decision of the two house of Chiefs that Naa Andani Dasana Abdulai was properly selected and enskinned by the appropriate authority as the Regent of Bimbilla.
The Court also held that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni, who is a matrilineal great grandson to the Bimbilla Skin cannot be a legitimate heir to the Bimbilla skin by lineage since the appropriate lineage requirement is the patrilineal lineage of sons and grandsons.
The decision on who is the rightful Overlord of Bimbilla has been in dispute for years, prompting the claimants to appeal to the National House of Chiefs for adjudication.
This was after several failed attempts to get the Northern Regional House of Chiefs to rule in their favour.
The claimants; the late Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni, appealed against the ruling of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs that affirmed Naa Andani Dasana Abdulai II as the overlord of Bimbilla.
Subsequently, Naa Andani Dasana Abdulai was murdered by unknown assailants on 6th June 2014, while the case was pending at the National House of Chiefs.
The murder of the overlord led to some unrest in the area and the developments compelled the minister of Interior to impose a 12-hour curfew on the town.
However, the Regional House of Chiefs in their ruling in October 2014 declared the late Naa Andani Dasana Abdulai as the rightful heir.
The Nakpaa Naa Dawuni’s faction however decided to head to the Supreme Court to seek finality on the matter.