A group calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Youth of the Northern Region is demanding the immediate resignation of the Food and Agriculture Minister, Owusu Afriyie Akoto over “insulting” comments against the people of the Northern parts of the country, ABC News can report.
The Minister on JoyNews’ PM Express is said to have suggested that but for the Planting for Food and jobs policy by the government, the Northern parts of the country would be without cement buildings and modern roofs.
The Minister suggested that communities along the road from Kumasi to Wa “are shining with metal roofs where there used to be thatch roofs” and that the increase in the riding of motorbikes ”is all coming from the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.”
But the group in a statement signed by its convener, Sadique Musah, expressed their resentment about the Minister’s said remarks, describing it as an “unfortunate and disrespectful” one aimed at “deliberately denigrating people from the Northern parts of this country.”
“This statement is most unfortunate and very dishonourable to have come from a Minister of State. Ministers of state are expected to have an appreciable knowledge of the history of the country they serve so that they can be guided in their public engagements,” the statement said.
They have, therefore, called for the immediate retraction and resignation by the Minister.
The coalition submits that stories about the Northern Regions depicting only poverty and suffering are erroneous and should be treated with contempt.
It explained that thatch houses in the North were built not out of poverty but rather as a symbol of cultural heritage and pride.
The Coalition advanced that “This essentially is the reason why our chief palaces are all thatch houses even when there’s been a significant shift towards modern building styles.”
“The regions cover an area of 70,0000km square and occupies 30 percent of the total land area of the country. To the best of our ability, we have always put this endowed vast land to use in the interest of ourselves and the nation at large. We make these efforts with or without any government’s intervention,” it said.
“We the People of the Northern Regions have, since the period before this Minister was born, been planting to give ourselves and the nation food and jobs. We have planted to buy bicycles, motorcycles, vehicles. We have planted to build houses that include storey buildings. We have planted to give our children quality education and improve our living standards,” it added, ABC News can report.
The Coalition further cautioned all public officers and government appointees to treat them with maximum respect in their public engagements.
“The people of the regions are very cognisant of our right to personal dignity. For that matter, any attempt to trample upon this right will be met with full resistance from us,” the Coalition in the statement averred.