Ethnic or tribal conflicts are common in a few areas in the country.
One such conflicts is the one between the Adele and Challa ethnic groups on one side and the Akyode on the other, who live at Nkwanta in the Oti Region.
Some media reports say the three tribes have been in contention for the ownership of the Nkwanta township for some decades now, a conflict yet to be resolved.
Thus, when in October 2023 the Akyodes wanted to perform some rituals to herald the celebration of their annual Kyodjible (Yam Festival), the Adeles and Challas ethnic groups had a joint press conference against the celebration of the festival.
According to the two groups, the festival would lead to disturbance.
Eventually, there was a clash in which scores suffered gunshot wounds but with no life lost though, yet it forced thousands of residents to flee the Nkwanta township to elsewhere.
Consequently, the Minister for the Interior, on the advice of the Oti Regional Security Council and by an Executive Instrument, imposed curfew on Nkwanta on November 21, 2023 from 5:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m.
Since then, there have been reviews with the latest one taking effect from February 6, 2024.
Today, traders in the Nkwanta-South Municipality have appealed to the government to review the curfew from 5:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m.
Curfews mainly restrict movement within certain periods and thus affect socio-economic activities and so it was not unexpected that the traders would ask for the review to enable them to improve on their business activities.
We think the traders have a point but they have to agree that their request can only be granted when there are all signs that peace has returned to the area, and that the review cannot jeopardise the situation.
In fact, it is our wish that the current volatile situation did not erupt at all.
Therefore, as the government continues to appeal to chiefs, elders, opinion leaders, the youth and the entire people of the area to exercise restraint and use non-violent means to resolve the matter, we urge the traders association to also seek its own best way(s) to help ensure peace.
The truth is that it is not only the traders that need some relief but others also.
Think, for instance, about the farmer who would be on tenterhooks while on the farm because he does not know can be ahead of him after closing from the hard day’s labour.
What we are driving at is that the traders’ request is legitimate but critical to the current delicate situation.
Happily, the security services are on the ground and will certainly support even the lifting of the curfew at the right time.
It therefore behoves all stakeholders to see the need to bring peace and tranquility to Nkwanta and just work towards that.
Even if there are people who think they are benefitting from the unpeaceful situation, they should accept that their number is very small.
Thus, all of us must think of the safety, peace and interests of the majority of the people.