Photo: Naa Puowele Karbo III addressing the people

The Kobine Festival, a cherished traditional festival among the chiefs and people of the Lawra traditional area in the Upper West Region, took on a deeper significance this year. Celebrated with fervor, the festival was marked by expressions of gratitude to the gods and ancestors for a prosperous harvest and an opportunity to address pressing issues affecting the paramountcy.

In his welcoming address, Naa Puowele Karbo III, the Paramount Chief of the Lawra traditional council, drew attention to a concerning issue plaguing the Lawra municipal – the rise in drug and substance abuse. With over 70% of the populace engaged in farming, the impact of this issue on productivity and the well-being of the farming population cannot be ignored.

“The issue of substance and drugs abuse has a lot of consequences on the productivity of the farming population,” remarked Naa Puowele Kaabo. “We will ruin the lives of our youthful population if measures are not taken to curb drugs and substance abuse.”

To address this growing problem, the theme for this year’s Kobine Festival was “substance abuse; it impact on human resource health.” The paramount chief reiterated the effects of drug and substance abuse including mental illness, low productivity, kidney diseases, and even death.

The festival offered a platform to review development programs and identify challenges. Naa Puowele Karbo made several proposals to put drugs and substance abuse on the national agenda. Firstly, he called on the government to launch an educational program in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service, Food and Drugs Authority, Pharmacy Council, and Law Enforcement Authorities to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of drug abuse.

Naa Puowele Karbo emphasized the urgency of the issue, stating, “It has the potential to destabilize the nation.” He also urged the National Security, the National House of Chiefs, and regional and paramount chiefs to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to eliminate the sale of these substances to citizens.

In addition to these national efforts, Naa Karbo stressed the importance of tackling the root causes of substance abuse at the family and community levels. He suggested that family members should be vigilant and observe signs of drug abuse among their loved ones. Furthermore, parents were also called upon to play an active role in combatting this growing concern.

Despite the serious undertones, the Kobine Festival remained a joyous occasion, attracting visitors from across the country to the Lawra municipality. Cultural displays, a health walk, football competitions, street jams, a Farmers Forum, and a grand durbar of chiefs all added to the festivities. Yet, underlying the celebration was a profound message – the need to protect the farming communities and their future from the scourge of drug abuse.


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