Opinions' free; Facts are sacred
NEWS FOR MAY 1ST 2000
ECOMOG leaves Big Mess behind
Angry Freetown residents have described as a big mess, the gruesome shooting incident by an ECOMOG soldier at Sibthorpe Street that saw the death of an ex-SLA soldier.
The West African inervention force gave the final onslaught last Saturday by killing one Sierra Leone soldier called Hussein Fawaz Sesay and seriously injuring another, George Johnson alias Junior Lion. The latter is still admitted at the Connaught hospital up to the time of writing this report.
According to eyewitness report, the Sierra Leone soldiers arrived at the scene with two vehicles belonging to Defence headquarters. The Nigerian soldiers who were preparing to leave last Saturday had eyed the vehicles to take them to Nigeria.
The Nigerian soldiers demanded that the vehicles be immediately handed over to them. The SLAs, according to report, explained to them that they took the vehicles with the knowledge of the higher military authorities at Cockeril and that they should allow them to return them. This fell on deaf ears and an argument ensued. The Nigerians took advantage of the armless soldiers and killed one and seriously injured the other.
A resident at Horton Street, very close to the scene remarked that the Nigerians decided to dominate ECOMOG as a way of looting other countries. “That is why they jump into crises in the guise of peace keeping mission even when they are not invited,” a disgruntled citizen grumbled.
In a very angry mood, another male occupant at Frederick Street said that the Nigerians killed the soldier simply because he was not armed.
“They know the capability of Sierra Leone soldiers. They have disgraced them on several occasions,” he stated.
ECOMOG’s last batch off
The final batch of ECOMOG other-ranks troops left Freetown last Saturday, April 29, for Nigeria.
At the government wharf ferry terminal before they were ferried to Lungi, scores of their Sierra Leonean concubines gathered to bid them farewell.
While others were shedding tears for their departing loved ones, some were seen carrying young babies on their backs asking their ECOMOG boyfriends what their fate would be now that they were leaving.
“I’ll contact you immediatley I reach Nigeria. In fact I will send your airticket within the next two weeks for you to meet me immediately,” one soldier was heard saying.
ECOMOG is the military wing of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) established in 1991 to halt the then NPFL rebel forces of Charles Taylor in Liberia who were almost engulfing the entire country and ready to kick out the then president, Samuel K.Doe.
In 1997, when his government was overthrown by the Sierra Leone Army headed by Johnny Paul Koroma, President Kabbah hired ECOMOG to use military force to kick out the then AFRC military junta.
This caused the deaths of thousands of Sierra Leoneans and billions of leones worth of properties were destroyed, while majority of those properties were looted and carted away to Nigeria.
The signing of the Lome Peace accord in July 1999 saw the deployment of the United Nations Force (UNAMSIL) which take over from ECOMOG.
Cottage Hospital is a deathtrap
Nobody knows exactly what the plenty noise the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Ibrahim Tejan Jalloh and his officials are causing about achieving health for all.
While other countries are far ahead in eradicating killer diseases from their various countries, Sierra Leone is busy nursing most of them.
The Children’s hospital known as the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) or Cottage is now a deathtrap turning out more corpses than healthy people.
All the wards in the hospital including its Annexe section, children’s wards are infested with various types of dangerous mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health cannot provide a single mosquito net for any bed.
“No wonder, as soon as someone is immediately admitted at Cottage, within two or three days, she will start experiencing malaria attacks even though she went there without malaria.”
Cottage hospital, which was the envy of others in 1992 after it was rehabilitated by Freetown philathropist, Emmanuel Kasho Macrae, is now a filthy place with most of the windows broken, walls filled with webs, filthy toilets and so on.
Penfold leaves for Britain
The British High Commissioner said in Freetown on Tuesday April 25, that he would be going back to Britain at the end of his term of office.
Speaking to guests during the celebration of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, Peter Penfold paid glowing tributes to all Sierra Leoneans who made his tenure a successful one. Mr Penfold described the situation of Sierra Leone as ‘quite poignant’, owing to the May 1997 coup and the January 6 invasion of Freetown.
He said he would always remember Sierra Leoneans as friendly people, adding that the relationship between Britain and Sierra Leone would continue to grow from strength to strength.
The British High Commissioner gave special thanks to his wife, whom he described as a pillar.
Responding, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sama Banya, described the occasion as unique, saying, “this day is more than just an occasion to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her birthday. Sierra Leone and Britain share common ideals”.
Dr. Banya recounted the days of the colonial era when, as he put it, “People like Granville Sharp and William Wilberforce stood against slavery, and a province of freedom for freed slaves was founded.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister thanked the outgone British High Commissioner for the role he played in the restoration of democracy, adding, “the name, Peter Penfold, has remained indelible in the hearts and minds of patriotic Sierra Leoneans”.
Dr. Banya told guests that Britain was to send a ninety-man strong team to bring up the national army. “The relationship between Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom has asumed new heights, and the credit goes to you, Chief Komrabia Peter Penfold,” he said.
The band of the Milton Margai School for the Blind played the National Anthems of both countries.
NEWS FOR APRIL 27TH 2000
“FORCE WILL MEET FORCE!” - RUF tells UNAMSIL
The leader of the Revolutionary United Front Party and CMRRD Chairman Foday Sankoh has warned against the preaching of force on the RUF to fast- track the disarmament process.
Sankoh complained of a recent incident in Magburaka town in the Tonkolili district where he said some UNAMSIL officers beat up an RUF combatant, disarmed him forcefully and seized some weapons which he claimed had been gathered to be handed over at the reception centre when the disarmament process commences.
He said the combatants wanted to retaliate but strictly warned them to refrain from any act that is likely to cause pandemonium and threaten the the ongoing peace process.
“I have warned my boys not to attack any officer. I have also warned UNAMSIL to stop molesting my boys. Next time any of my boys is attacked, they will definitely defend themselves” Sankoh asserted.
The RUFP leader maintained that he is totally committed to the peace process but added that Sierra Leoneans should not forget the disaster and consequencies of using force to solve political problems.
“What is important is dialogue and dialogue must be above force at this crucial stage” he concluded.
SLAs/ECOMOG fight at Susan’s Bay
A group of SLAs numbering five, led by Captain Dio, Military Police in charge of Discipline on Sunday 24th April fought with an ECOMOG officer at the Susan’s Bay customs point thus bringing to halt the revenue collection for several hours.
Captain Dio had gone to the customs post to clear a consignment of tiles which he said were for hispersonal use. He had therefore taken along these soldiers to assist in the transportation of the tiles from the customs stores to his parked vehicle. In the process, a cartoon of the tiles fell off the head of one of these soldiers called Salami, and the entire lot smashed to pieces.
Reports state that this occured when the soldier was being questioned by one of the Nigerian ECOMOG security officers. the soldier became angry with the ECOMOG officer. When the tiles crashed in the interim, he is reported to have pounced on the ECOMOG soldier and a tussle ensued. His colleagues wasted no time in joining the bout. A serious exchange of fists was reported. A customs officer, Mr. Davies, was reportedly slapped by Salami.
When contacted the Commander of State House sent men to arrest the situation. According to reports, Salami and his four colleagues were identified as criminals serving guard-room punishment for crimes contrary to military conduct.
No arrest was made by the military team from State House. However, the said Captain was reported to have apologised to the Customs Officers for what he described as an unfortunate development.
NDA youth wing calls for unity
The President of the Youth wing of the National Democratic Alliance Party (NDA), Mr. Alpha Bah, has called on party supporters to be united.
Addressing a cross section of the National Executive Council (NEC) and party supporters in a meeting last Friday at the party office, Mr Bah appealed to them to put aside their differences and work towards the development of the party. He said the essence of the meeting was to make their report on the activities undertaken by the youth wing so far and to map out strategies on how to effectively launch the campaign for the forthcoming elections.
The Youth wing Organising Secretary, Mr.Fomba, spoke about the areas visited so far on the absence of some of the Executive members and further appealed to them to co-operate to ensure the realisation of their dreams.
The Acting leader of the party, Mr. Joague, told the audience about the series of representations he had made on behalf of the party and called on the Executive members to come on board and start active campaign for the next general and presidential elections.
Various Executive members attributed their long absence from the party to some of the grievances they had for the leader, but pledged to give their full support to the party.
The vote of thanks was moved by the care taker Secretary General, Mr Kamara.
Mile 91 protest against soja brutality
Reports reaching this press indicate that hundreds of civilians are fleeing Mile 91 because of what they describe as an unwarranted treatment meted against them by soldiers deployed in the township.
According to one of the fleeing civilians, David Sesay, the soldier causing the problem is one Lt. Combey, the second Battalion Commander of the area. David explained that Lt. Combey used some call- girls in the township,who are reported to be under his numerous concubines, to victimise and embarrass innocent civilians.
The report further states that these girls normally lie about having extra-marital relationships with certain civilians to Lt. Combey , and for this the said Lieutenant would levy a fine of Le200,000 against the alleged offender, failing which he would be subjected to serious beating. “What is more disheartening is that this Lt. Combey has usurped the powers of the Paramount Chief and the police in the town” remarked Musu Kargbo, a resident of mile 91.
David further explained that the civilians of the township have made their protest to the overall commander of the area, Captain Conteh about Lt. Combey’s attitude. Captain Conteh was reported to have disclosed that he had advised him (Lt. Combey) to refrain from such unprofessional and disgraceful conduct, but noted that the Lieutenant chose to ignore his warning as he put it: “Instead he even wanted to challenge my authority. It is for this that we want the authorities to know about what this man is doing to our people at Mile 91. Some of us have recently gone to rebuild our shattered homes and if we continue to face harrassment from soldiers sent to protect us, we will have no alternative but to abandon the area.
So we want the authorities concerned to take immediate action now in order to control this unruly soldier” remarked sixty year old Pa Alie Kargbo who had also suffered similar brutality from the notorious Lt.Combey.
Students blast principal
There is growing discontent among students of Njala University College, following a kangaroo court instituted by the College authorities against the Students Union president and his government.
Some students view the trial of the SU government as a tribally calculated ploy to tarnish the character of the government which has brought some achievements to the Union.
This saga emanated from a complaint filed in by the president against a final year student, Peter Sesay, who demolished the Student Union box on campus. The matter was reported to the Dean of Students, Mr. A.S.Sandi who then referred it to the SU court.
Owing to the failure of the Dean of Students to react, some students belonging to the Future Shock Fraternity of the campus headed by Francis Entua Yambasu disrupted the Chief Electoral elections after they had seen defeat at the polls. The matter was also reported to the Dean but he failed to act.
What is baffling hundreds of students on campus is that,when the speaker of the Students Representative Council who is a member of the Future Shock Fraternity accused the president of constitutional violation, the college administration immediately set up a commission of Inquiry.
“How can you try a government that is still in power?” querried a female student. Students saw the composition of the panel as a tribally biased against somebody coming from the other end of the country.
“This issue of tribalism must be stopped,” remarked another female student, adding, “If the administration is fair, then they should allow the president and the speaker to go through the Student Union Court as stipulated in the Constitution.”
Some of the students are planning to write a letter to the Pincipal advising him to refer the matter to the court as it would be counter-productive for him. A first year student was forced to ask, “If they (administration) are insisting on investigation, why can’t they investigate the government of Becker and Jabba who handled the bus when it was new? We know this is another ploy to see a tribesman of their choice winning the presidency. “We know the president has done well especially so when he has confronted many authorities about our bus issue.””
Frustrated traders call for understanding
Traders occupying the Elk Street business area have expressed frustration over the manner they are being treated by drivers using the same area as a parking lot for urshering in of passengers.
These traders were initially occupying the area along Goderich Street, but because of the rehabilitation works undertaken by the Compagnee Sahelien des Engineers (CSE), they were transfered to their present location by City Council authorities.
But according to the traders’ spokesman, Ansumana Bangura, they are facing many problems with the drivers who park their vehicles deliberately in front of their stalls, thus making it impossible for customers to gain access to their wares. In certain instances, Bangura asserted, the drivers or their apprentices quarrel with customers as they try to buy from them. As a result of this ugly development, they have started losing customers.
Mr. Bangura stated that even though pleas have been made to these drivers through their chairman, Mr. Musa, nothing seems to happen.
“The Chairman himself has issued several appeals to these drivers to exercise restraint over their diabolical actions, but to no avail,” Mr Bangura stressed.
As a way of reconciling with the drivers inspite of their attitude, Mr Bangura is appealing to the drivers through the Sierra Leone Professional Drivers Association and The Sierra Leone Motor Drivers and Workers Union to talk to their members. He maintained that traders and drivers should not be seen to be enemies as they are partners in trading.
“Traders cannot do business in the absence of drivers, vice-versa. In fact most of the vehicles on the roads are owned by business people; they should not be hostile to us”, he emphasised.
Another Successful Round of Polio Immunization Concluded
The last weekend of April 22 and 23 witnessed another successful completion of the Polio Immunization Campaign otherwise known as the National Immunization Days (NIDS).
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation and Rotary International, is determnined to wipe out the dreaded polio disease out of Sierra Leone. The two-day exercise was therefore a manifestation of the determination of these organisations to eradicate polio worldwide come the end of this year.
Reports monitored by this press confirmed that there was a tremendous turnout of mothers with their children in rebel held areas of Kono, Kambia, Kailahun, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bombali and Port Loko districts. Also, a good percentage of children in displaced camps are said to have taken the polio vaccine.
At the Waterloo displaced camp, our reporter witnessed the immunization of over 650 children before 11:00am. At the Approved School and National Workshop displaced camps over one thousand mothers lined up as early as 8:00 a.m waiting for the turn of their babies to receive the polio vaccine.
“My first son is a polio victim and he is presently being taken care of by the International Organisation of Good Templars. I am sure if this polio eradication campaign had been introduced ten years ago, he would not have suffered. That is why I will ensure that my other two children exhaust all the polio vaccines to prevent a recurrence,” remarked Madam Hawa Thullah, wife of Pa Amadu Kanu at the Approved School displaced camp.
At the Calaba Town and Vinton Street immunization points, there was enthusiasm among mothers and children who queued up to receive their vaccines. The turnout was very high, and people expressed their appreciation to the government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for what they described as a laudable venture. They praised the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and other international bodies for coming to the aid of Sierra Leone.
Doctors Prince Robert and Noah Conteh reiterated that mothers now appreciate the effort of government and allied agencies in the war against polio.
The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Ibrahim I. Tejan Jalloh, speaking at the Wilberforce military barracks, emphasised the importance of vaccination and assured all that by the next round, polio will be a thing of the past.
NEYA Descendants appeal for help
Descendants of Neya chiefdom, in Collaboration with the paramount chief, Fankolai Marrah II have appealed to the government of Sierra Leone, local and international NGOs as well as Donor Agencies to come to the immediate aid of their people currently plagued by serious humanitarian crises.
According to a senior descendant of the chiefdom, Mr. John Saradugu Mansaray, they cannot go to their chiefdom as at now because things are extremely difficult for their people.
He however emphasised that this time round, if government and NGOs fail to pay attention to the problems of Neya, there is bound to be another humanitarian catastrophe. “The people need to be assisted this time. They have suffered a lot from neglect. All that they owned has been destroyed; they need to be kick-started,”one concerned citizen remarked.
Neya chiefdom prouds of nothing developmental from central governments, past and present. It has no schools, no hospitals or health centres, no proper drinking water facilities and no security. The lack of health and proper drinking water facilities have rendered the chiefdom prone to epidemic outbreaks.
Happy Independence Day to all Sierra Leoneans. As we enter our 40th year of independence from Britain, may this nation and all its' citizens come to their senses and stop its' destruction
NEWS FOR WEEK OF APRIL 19TH TO APRIL 24TH 2000
A telephone call from Nigeria to our office stated that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Sierra Leone Army, Nigerian born General Maxwell Mitikishi Khobe has pased away.
Professor Septimus Kai-Kai, the Presidential Spokesman in a telephone interview confirmed the death of the General. He said the death of the General came as a shock as there were reports of positive improvement before the bombshell finally dropped on Tuesday, April 18.
General Khobe’s condition deteriorated drastically about two weeks ago and was rushed to the newly constructed Choithrams Hospital at Hill Station after he had collapsed and went into coma.
Doctors at the hospital said they believed the General suffered a brain paralysis. They therefore decided to fly him to Abuja immediately.
When he was flown home , president Kabbah called on Sierra Leoneans to offer special prayers for what he described as the “special friend of Sierra Leone”.
National Electoral Commission holds round table conference
The newly constituted commissioners of the National Electoral Comission (NEC) yesterday held a round table conference comprising registered political parties, civil society groups and other organsiations at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex, Kingtom.
Declaring the conference open, the new Chief Electoral commissioner, Mr. Walter O.F. Nicol, expressed confidence on his team which he described as “a formidable team of eminent Sierra Leoneans who have passed through the crucibles of parliamentary scrutiny and found to be fit and proper persons to execute the mandate of the electoral commission”.
Nicol said his commission is determined to do its best but needs the cooperation of all Sierra Leoneans and political parties.
Quoting from the relevant portion of the constitution which states inter alia “... the electoral commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person of authority...”, Mr Nicol amidst thunderous applause said the commmission is resolved to keep to these stipulations to the letter.
The outgoing British High Commissioner, Peter Penfold, reminded all present that the next test of all Sierra Leoneans is the forthcoming elections. He admonished that if the elections are not held on the stipulated time, then all the sacrifices that Sierra Leoneans have done for the past four years may go in vain.
He said the people must be free to exercise their democratic rights in a free atmosphere devoid of any harassment or intimidation.
He warned the electoral commission to be fair and avoid illegal counting and illegal announcements.
Other contributions came from the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Joseph Melrose, the Charges d’ Affairs of the European Union, members of the International Federation for Electoral System (IFES) and the Chief Technical Advisor provided by the Commonwealth, Indian born Mr. Devinder Singh Bagga.
Only ten political parties attended the conference. They are SLPP, APC, UNPP, RUFP, NUP, PNC, NUM, PDA, DCP and PDP (Sorbeh).
Man Dumped At Water
Mamadi Keita, a Guinean, was reportedly dumped with his hands tied to his chest about fifty metres off the shores of Conakrydee, in the Kaffu Bullon chiefdom, Kambia District on Friday 14th April 2000.
He was in charge of two fiber-glass made fishing boats of the Progui Sarl Fishing Company in the Republic of Guinea. They were out on a fishing expedition for the company in Guinean waters around Kassa, and Guinean Island resort.
According to reports, the said boats were all manned by Sierra Leoans as employees of the company, and the victim Mamadi Keita was their supervisor.
After some successful catch, the reports continued, Mr Keita decided that they stay and continue later but the captain did not agree with that and insisted that they go beyond. There was a reported argument over this matter and consequently, the captain ordered the hooks to be sent on board and he sped off with the boat towards the Sierra Leone direction.
A scuffle ensued resulting in the overpowering of the supervisor who was subsequently dumped in the water near Conakry Dee.
Speaking to our reporter at the office of the Sierra Leone United Boatowners Association, Mr Keita said that his life was saved by God.
“I had no means of saving my life. It was only lucky of me for the waves to push me ashore where I struggled to keep my head above water until I was rescued by one Mr. Issa Kabba,” Mr Keita explained.
Mr. Issa told this press that he was at first afraid of the victim as he was considering his situation to be a trap by some treacherous people. “It was only when he had spoken in the Susu language about his ordeal that I decided to go to his aid,” Mr Issa said.
However, his condition was seen as satisfactory after receiving some emergency treatment through the help of his rescuer. He explained to this press that he was satisfied with the cooperation he received from his Sierra Leonean counterparts. Contacts were said to have been made by SLUBOA with their various branches as well as the Navy and Police immediately the report was made to them
SLUBOA agents in collaboration with the Navy and police are said to be investigating the matter.
St. Edwards Secondary, a pace setter
In terms of educational standard, discipline and good record, St. Edward’s Secondary school is counted as one of the best in the country.
And in order to continue the good work of the school and also to compliment the effort of both the old boys and the principal, Mr.J.P. Kamara, the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) have elected a Development Committee to assist in the development of the school.
Elected chairman was Mr.Komba Allie, to be assisted by Mr.M. M. Koroma. The post of Secretary-General goes to Mr. J.P. Kamara,Principal, to be assisted by Mr. Davis, the vice pricipal, while the enviable position of Financial Secretary went to Mr.Barrie, a Senior Teacher of the school. Mrs. Fatmata Koroma was elected Social and Organizing Secretary and the post of Auditor goes to Mr. Alfred B. Koroma of The Point Newspaper.
In a short but very impressive address, the newly elected chairman, Mr. Komba Allie, said among other things, that he was happy that after a lengthy and fruitful discussion, they were able to find ways and means of developing the school.
He added that the primary aim of forming the committee was to assist in the development of the school. He admonished members of the committee to put more seriousness in their various office for the school.
Mr. Allie outlined the various duties and responbilities of members and urged them to work in the best interest of the school.
He went further to say that, he would never put those who voted him to shame.
“I am ready, willing and prepared to do all in my power to see that the committee succeeds as we will also embark on fund raising activities,” Mr. Allie said.
In his contribution, the Secretary who is also the Principal of the school Mr. J.K. Kamara, lauded members for the interest they had shown, a move he described as a giant step in the right direction geared towards upgrading the dignity and respect of the school.
The Vice Principal, Mr. Davis also took part in the discussion
Notorious Killer Still At Large
An alleged notorious killer is reportedly in hiding after commiting what could be described as ‘heinous’ crimes during last year’s rebel invasion of Freetown.
Mohamed Bangura who was residing at 6C New Street in the east end of the city is wanted by some kamajors for his role during the January 6, 1999 crisis.
According to a member of the Civil Defence Forces known as the Kamajors, Koroma was seen with a gun threatening the lives of residents of the area.
The kamajor militia who swore to kill Mohamed any time he spotted him did not however say how many people the wanted man killed.
“I do not care what people may say. I have a score to settle with Mohamed Bangura. It is either his life or mine,” the angry kamajor militia fumed.
Recently, another group of kamajors barricaded the residence of 6C New Street and put the house owner at gun point, threatening to blow his head off if he did not produce Mohamed Koroma. The situation was only saved when a United Nations peace keeper came to the scene and pacified the kamajors. They however told the house owner that they would be checking at his house frequently until they saw Mohamed. According to them, peace accord or no peace accord, Mohamed Koroma would be paid back in his own coin.
Polio Eradication Heats Up
As Sierra Leone gears itself for the second round of the Natonal Polio Eradication Campaign on April 22 and 23, figures released for the first round showed that 786,956 under-five children were immunized out of a targeted 841,240 children.
Describing the development as a remarkable achievement, the Programme Manager of the National Immunization Days, Dr. Alhassan Seisay said the 93.5 percent coverage was gained.
He said in an interview that there still exists the overriding need to access every child in Sierra Leone so that polio will be eradicated from the West African State.
The Medical Officer said all logistics have been put in place for the April 22 and 23 programme including large quantities of promotional materials and posters dispatched to the varous districts for the campaign to go into full swing.
A total of 1.2 million doses of vaccines will be involved in the second round in addition to large numbers of icepacks, carriers and monitoring forms which will be utilised by supervisors in the various districts including the representative of the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) in the campaign in Kailahun, Mr. Steve Williams.
“I am again appealing to parents, guardians and childminders that every round is available to the child. Every child is supposed to be brought forward to receive polio immunization as it an eradication programme,” he said.
Dr. Seisay emphaized that “the more immunization the child has, the more strong the child is to be fully immunized and prevented from getting the poliomyelitis disease”.
NIDs Consultant, Alhaji U.N.S. Jah who heads the Social Mobilization Committee of the campaign said there will be no relentment until Sierra Leone’s under-five children are freed from the scourge of polio. “It is a dreaded disease and should be eliminated,” he said, adding that round two of the campaign is to ensure that our children would no longer be plagued by polio.
“We are mobilizing all sectors in the society not only in Freetown but throughout the country drawing the participation of traditional leaders and women’s groups including market women in our sensitization programme”, he told WHO Health Information Adviser, Rod Mac-Johnson, in the interview.
Member of Parliament, A.O.D George who is a consultant to the campaign called for “active community participation so that the remaining two rounds (on May 20 and 21, June 17 and 18) will achieve resounding successes to herald the end of polio in the country”.
Mr. V.M. Sovula from the NIDs Secretariat said the second round is part of the golden opportunity for parents, guardians and childminders to immunize their under-five children to save them from becoming a burden to society.
He said, the civil war has left Sierra Leone disadvantaged in terms of expertise and the talents of the young would be fully harnessed if they are protected from birth. “You must therefore become part of the great campaign”, he urged parents and guardians.”
The Epidemiologist in charge of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), an important component in the NIDs campaign, Dr. Duramani Conteh said the AFP surveillance would evaluate the campaign to determine whether the wild poliovirus has been eradicated.
“AFP goes in to actually evaluate what NIDs had done and to see that they are successful”, he added.
According to the Director-General of the Geneva-based World Health Organisation, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundland, whose organisation together with UNICEF, Rotary International and other health partners are funding the campaign, “we are maximizing what we can achieve together”.
Flags will be mounted at vaccination points throughout the country for easy identification while banners will be displaced at strategic intersectons.
Tribalism rears its ugly head in Kenema
Disgruntled citizens in the Kenema district in the east of Sierra Leone have expressed grave concern over the spate of tribalistic hegemony currently perpetrated by their co-inhabitants who are mainly Mendes.
These disgruntled citizens are concerned about the seizure of properties of other tribes especially the Temnes. They also detest the cavalier attitude of these Mende authorities in their bid to promote their self interest at the detriment of other tribes though they are all Sierra Leoneans.
According to these concerned citizens, a mosque situated at Blama Road owned by the Temnes has apparently been seized by the Mende authorities who have appointed their own imam and cadre of the administration.
The substantive Imam, Alhaji Allieu Kamara, has done all he could, together with his jamaat (congregation), to regain his position but to no avail.
Reports state that the Town Chief of Kenema, Chief Albert Gottor, said on the 13th March 2000 that once the choice of a new Imam has been effected by the Chief Imam, Alhaji Gibril S. Kamara, they have no mandate to stand against it.
Another worrying thing in relation to this mosque is that for the first time in history, the authorities ordered that as of 13th March 2000, a Mende people should hold the positions of Chairman and Secretary General in the mosque and also a representative of the chiefs. In a related development houses and stores have been unilaterally seized by either Kamajors or members of the families of Mende authorities. A total of fourteen houses and six stores have currently been illegally seized from their rightful owners.
This development comes against the background of president Kabbah’s peace mission to the region during which he called for reconciliation and particularly touched on this burning issue of property seizure.
However, a letter of complaint from these disgruntled citizens has been sent to the President, highlighting their plights in the hands of their brothers. The letter referred to this act as “undemocratic, tribalistic, unconstitutional and an abuse of human rights of freedom of expression, association and worship.” It also called on the president to prevail on these people to effect a peaceful hand over of their properties
Life Line Ministry donates to Police
The LifeLine Ministry donated to the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Tuesday 11th April 2000 a consignment of office equipment during the launching of the Sierra Leone Police Newspaper called the “Sierra Leone Police News” at the Police Officers mess, Kingtom.
The Director of the Ministry, Apostle R.M. Cole, and the Administrator, Rev. George Buawnie, did the presentation. The consignment consisted of 2 electric typewriters, assorted stationery and a computer.
Speaking to this press, Reverend George Buawnie stated that their move was motivated by their admiration for the Police as it strives to reform itself to win public confidence. He said he considered the Police as a vital institution in any democracy as it is the Police that ensure public safety.
He further stated that the dark days of the police were gone and that the institution had realized its role vis-à-vis the public and the upkeep of democratic tenets. He admonished the officers to embrace the structural, disciplinary and attitudinal changes the Commonwealth Task Force is instilling in them. He also called on the public to realize the difficulties faced by people to re-adapt to change especially when his previous attitude was for his selfish end only.
He also urged the public to cooperate with the Police by passing on to them vital information about most particularly the security of the state
In her over view of the Newspaper, Mrs. Kadi K. Fakondo, Assistant Commissioner of Police, retorted that there was the need for the Police newspaper as the force was undergoing a change which calls for everybody’s contribution to ensure its success. She took pains to highlight the aims and objectives of the Newspaper which, among other things, include: to inform the entire population accurately about the activities of the Sierra Leone Police; to serve as a mouthpiece of the Inspector-General in his bid to reach the people; a way of presenting the Police to the people in its drive to change and build confidence following the dwindled image of the force over the years; and to take away fears and restore hope and trust through the concerted effort of everybody.
Mrs. Fakondoh called on the independent press for its cooperation with the Sierra Leone Police News in giving the people all they need to know about the Police. She however stated the main role of the newspaper will be to maximize good news and minimize bad news about the Police.
Mr. Kalie Sesay, Assistant Superintendent of Police who is also Editor of the Sierra Leone Police News submitted that the Newspaper is not for commercial purposes, but rather to improve communication between the personnel of the Sierra Leone Police and to promote the image of the force as ‘a force for good’.
He also called on the public and members of the independent press and both internal and multilateral donors to cooperate with the police in its reformation drive. He called on colleague officers to contribute to the newspaper by way of articles, jokes, stories and poems aimed at portraying the police as a force responsible to the people.
“Fear no more”… General V.K. Jetley
Public apprehension following the withdrawal of ECOMOG from peacekeeping operations especially in the city Freetown was on Wednesday 12th April 2000, allayed. This methodic process was undertaken by the Force Commander of UNAMSIL, General Vijay Kumar Jetley during a conducted tour of strategic points in the western part of the city where UNAMSIL forces had already deployed.
The General, in the company of senior UNAMSIL military officers and a battery of journalists, inspected points which included the residence of Chairman Foday Sankoh. The tour started at the SLBS complex and then to Kingharman/Main Motor Road junction, Army Ordnance Depot at Murray Town, Murray Town/Aberdeen Road Lumley Beach, Spur Road checkpoint and the Wilberforce Signals Complex.
According to the General, the rationale behind this tour was not only to build confidence of security in the minds of the public but also to boost the morale of the UN troops and to give them the assurance of the Security Council’s fullest support.
He expressed satisfaction over what had so far been achieved - the smooth transformation of ECOMOG force- and stated “We are building on the foundation of their performance.” Assurance
During a press briefing, the General assured Sierra Leoneans that with the present composition of UNAMSIL, there should be no more fear. He stated that the vacuum expected to have been caused by ECOMOG’s withdrawal was no longer a reality, adding “we will ensure our presence everywhere in the country, from East to West and North to South.” He was however quick to state that though UN troops will not be present in every town and village, the troops are adequately prepared to respond to any short notice and also ensure their presence wherever there is a threat to lives and properties anywhere in the country.
He disclosed that the UN troops are specially trained professionals in all disciplines of military conduct but told the people that in spite of its strength it does not necessarily mean that UNAMSIL is here to use force unnecessarily. Confidence
The General in a confident mood stated that the United Nations Security Council and troop contributing countries are strongly committed to the peace process in Sierra Leone. He disclosed that they were increasing the number of DDR camps as a way of wiping out suspicion in the minds of combatants and faction leaders.
“We are going to ensure a simultaneous disarmament,”he said. He also registered his confidence in achieving success through chairman Sankoh’s recent visit to the East (Segbwema) where he emphatically instructed his fighters to cooperate with UNAMSIL and disarm.
“Since this was what we have been waiting for and has come direct from the chairman himself, I am confident”, the General retorted.
General Jetley stated that to ensure his troops deployment countrywide, they are also engaged in roads/bridges repairs and the digging of wells, which could be used by both his troops and local communities. He stated that that wass exactly what they were currently about to undertake for Koidu in the east. They are ensuring that all logistic supports such as helipads, office space and a deployment sites are in place before they could deploy fully. They are currently on reconnaissance there.
Konos blast Dangerous foreign miners
Youths and concerned Kono people under the auspices of the Movement of Concerned Kono Youths (MOCKY) have expressed their deep concern over the activities of certain foreign nationals especially in the diamond rich regions and the country at large.
This concern was expressed through letters sent to both the Gambian High Commissioner and the Lebanese Ambassador resident in Freetown. Foreigners are reported to be providing both financial and material support to clandestine mining activities while the proceeds are smuggled to benefit either the war machine or individual countries, which very detrimental to the already ailing Sierra Leone economy.
According to these letters, these nationals who were identified as Gambians (Marakas) and Lebanese have forgotten the fact that they have been with the indigenes for the past forty years, and before the outbreak of the war, they had been enjoying a fairly peaceful life by going about their business chores in a congenial atmosphere.
The letter also highlighted that in respect of this peaceful co-existence, whole areas were allocated to these people. In Kono, the Gambians and Lebanese had Maraka Compound and Small Lebanon respectively.
In light of this unscrupulous behaviour of these foreign exploiters, the letter maintained, “the Movement (MOCKY) wishes to express its disappointment over this unhealthy development and therefore crave your indulgence (Ambassador and High Commissioner) using your most honourable offices to intervene as soon as possible.”
The letters further asked for these authorities’ immediate intervention in order to avoid an unequivocal consequence inimical to the interest of both parties.
Mabang Bridge needs repairs
The shortest road from Freetown to Moyamba, Shenge, Rutile and Mokanji needs serious repairs.
The Pool team that visited the bridge saw commuters, light and heavyweight vehicles in a long queue. The bridge is constructed with boards on the floor which can best be described as ‘deathtrap” if urgent steps are not taken by government.
One businessman, Osman Bah, intimated this reporter that the Mabang bridge is very dangerous as heavyweight vehicles loaded with goods always ply that route to Bo in the south and Kenema in the east. Osman Bah expressed concern that the bridge will soon collapse if immediate steps are not taken to renovate it. He said that the reason why most vehicles use that route is because of the fear of rebel attacks.
Meanwhile, local NGOs have been seen visiting the site of the bridge and the outgoing British High Commission, Komrabai Peter Penfold was also said to have paid a visit to the Mabang bridge.
“We are afraid of the bridge for heavyweight vehicles. Government should do something about it”, villagers near Mabang bridge cried out.
Moyamba Boys Vow To promote Sports
Sports, which collapsed during the almost one decade of the rebel war, is now taking a different dimension. According to the Coach for the Volleyball team T.K. Mamoud Bah, they as the youths of Moyamba are planning to revive sports in Moyamba and ready to represent the district in both football and volley ball competitions. Mamoud said they represented the district in many competitions before the rebel incursion and did extremely well in those competitions.
T.K.Mamoud said that he and his colleagues are grateful to Medesins Sans Frontiere (MSF) and the outgoing British High Commissioner for the role they played in providing them with volleyball nets and balls. Hon. Tarashid Tarawalie presented another ball to the team.
Volleyball practising has now commenced and are held everyday at the prison Barracks at Moyamba. UNAMSIL, Kamajors and civilians all participate in the exercise.
Spectators are also seen surrounding the volleyball court when it is in action.
YWTC in progress at Moyamba
The Young Women Trade Centre, a non-formal educational system has commenced in Moyamba. According to the head of the centre, Miss Roser Bartholomew, the centre now boasts of thirty students even though the former number of students at the institute was fifty before the rebel invasion in Moyamba in August 10,1995.
After the 1995 attack, according to Miss Batholomew, the institute catered for thirty-five students and were in full operation before the January 6 invasion of Freetown. Miss Bartholomew said she thanked God the peace accord had been signed and that she believed, with the help of God, the Lome Peace accord will be implemented so that the drop-out rate of girls could be minimised.
The head teacher expressed gratitude to World Vision which rescued them some time ago by providing four sewing machines and other materials for needlework. According to Miss Bartholomew, the institute is training the young women in dress making, soap making, Gara tye dyeing and also produce or process food stuff like Jam, tomato paste, fruits, drinks and cakes.
The institute which was founded in 1993, is still looking out for a suitable place to continue their good work, the head teacher observed.
NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 12TH 2000
Reports reaching this press have linked the Chairman of the Kenema Town Council, SLPP Strongman Chairman Kargbo to a Le540 million corruption scandal resulting from the daily market dues collected within the Kenema urban district.
The reports state that the daily market dues collected within the Kenema urban area amount to about Le1.5 million, but last year Mr. Kargbo only accounted a dismal Le16 million as the total yearly dues.
The question now on the lips of many Kenema business people and residents is, where and how was the rest of the money spent? These people complain of poor drainage systems within the township particularly on Koroma, Kandeh and Somaila Streets to name but a few. They also maintained that they enjoy nothing but dilapidated structures that are in dire need of rehabilitation.
Reports further state that there is a high suspicion in Kenema that Mr. Kargbo must have diverted the unaccounted market dues to his private account as he is now seen driving a posh blue benz jeep, and he is further alleged to be constructing massive residential complexes both in Bo and somewhere in the west end of Freetown.
One businesswoman disclosed to this press that Mr. Kargbo is most feared in man Kenema.
The Christian and Muslim officers of the Sierra Leone Police have been told that they would no longer be allowed to offer congregational prayers on Fridays as well as fellowship on Sundays.
The expatriate Inspector-General, Keith Biddle, is reported to have banned prayers at the Police headquarters without offering any reason or explanantion. Several police personnel interviewed expressed outrage and dismay over Biddle’s action, describing it as unwise and arrogant. A female police officer who has served for twenty-seven years in the police force remarked that the British Inspector-General probably doesn’t believe in the existence of God, otherwise he wouldn’t have done such an outrageous thing as banning people from praying to their creator.
A retired senior officer this reporter talked with explained that prayers in the police department are as old as the institution itself. He maintained that Keith Biddle’s action was, in his his opinion, ill-advised and unfortunate.
Kamajors attack UNAMSIL troops in Kenema
The United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) based in the eastern regional headquarter town of Kenema were last Saturday, April 8 attacked by the pro-government civil militias locally called Kamajors.
The Kamajors who effected the attack had a combination of former ULIMO fighters of Alhaji Kroma who were recruited by Chief Hinga Norman during the fight to restore the democratically elected government.
One reason purportedly given by the attackers was that the government has failed to fulfil its own part of the agreement after it has been restored to power.
Our Kenema correspondent was able to unearth that the move to attack the UNAMSIL forces was as a result of an instruction from certain higher government functionaries who have been employed to create a picture of instability and insecurity in order to halt the withdrawal of the Nigerian ECOMOG troops.
A UNAMSIL official contacted by this press remarked that the attack on their forces could not be blamed on either the RUF or AFRC since the area has no presence of these two forces.
“We have deployed in Makeni, Magburaka and Kailahun for over three months now and these are RUF controlled areas but we have never been attacked by them. We live in peace and harmony. We discuss with their commanders everyday, so we cannot blame any of their forces,” the UNAMSIL official said.
Since the re-commencement of the ECOMOG withdrawal from Sierra Leone, certain government functionaries who feel uncomfortable with their absence have embarked on maximum publicity both on local and international media to present a picture of uncertainty in the absence of ECOMOG.
I did not kill Lavalie!
The leader of the RUF, Chairman Foday Sankoh on Monday April 10, 2000 dismissed as false and totally untrue allegations that he killed Honourable Elizabeth Lavalie’s husband. The Chairman made the denial during a disarmament mission to the eastern town of Segbwema.
The said allegations were made when Chairman Sankoh appeared before parliamentarians on the 15th March this year, during which time his insincerity towards the peace process particularly its implementation was echoed by nearly every speaker.
In Sebgewema itself, Hon. Lavalie did not mince her words when she confronted the man she blamed for killing her husband, Dr. Alpha Lavalie at Mano junction, Eastern Sierra Leone. Sankoh publicly denied killing Dr. Lavalie, stressing that the late man died when the vehicle he was travelling in rode on a landmine planted by government troops on whose side Dr. Lavalie was allied.
“I have no hand in his death and your charge against me is false,” Sankoh asserted.
Hon. Elizabeth Lavalie however still maintained that Sankoh was responsible for the death of her husband, saying, “It was you who killed my man”. This brief exchange between the two ended abruptly as it started and they later found time to share a joke here and there.
Sankoh Disarms Strike Force
Seventy combatants belonging to the former RUF strike force battalion were disarmed at Segbwema on Monday 10th April after months of prevarication, accusations and unnecessary bureaucracy, to push the painfully slow disarmament process to the fast track.
Chairman Foday Saybana Sankoh, speaking earlier in what was described as symbolic disarmament, urged his former fighters to turn over their arms to the UN peace keeping forces at the designated centres. Sankoh admonished his men that he was no longer a rebel leader and warned against anyone inciting them to frustrate his efforts and derail the peace process.
“Let no one incite you. I signed the accord for the benefit of our people,” he boomed.
The RUFP leader assured his former combatants that he would not abandon them, adding that their entitlements would be given to them in the course of the DDR programme.
The Executive Secretary, NCDDR, Dr. Francis Kaikai, in a brief statement, explained to the former fighters that they were expected to go through the DDR schedule as it will be to their advantage.
“It is envisaged that the DDR programme in its entirety would do a lot of good to the former combatants in redirecting their lives, destinies and future,” Dr. Kaikai stated.
He declared that a total of $300 (three hundred dollars) would be given to the former combatants in two instalments: $150 after disarmament and another $150 following demobilisation to facilitate their reintegration process.
The former fighters expressed their willingness to disarm and reshape their lives. Rocket propelled grenades, Kalashnikov rifles, German made G-3 rifles, an Anti-aircraft gun and pistols were surrendered to the UN military observers within the India Battalion general area under the command of Colonel Latish Khumar.
Present at the Segbwema disarmament centre were: Ambassador Adeyemi Adeniji, Generals Jetley and Kpamber, Parliamentarians and journalists.
P.C. Fankolai II calls for help
The Paramount Chief of Neya Chiefdom in the Koinadugu District, northern Sierra Leone, has called for help from both government and NGOs (local and international) in the wake of the current peace process.
He was speaking in a meeting convened by the Neya Descendants Association (NEDA), on Sunday 9th April, 2000 at 2, Walpole Street, Freetown.
According to the Chief, his chiefdom is one of the worst hit by the rebel war. He maintained that all of the ninety-nine villages and towns were systematically and indiscriminately vandalized and destroyed.
“There is not a single house in any of these areas to keep my people,” the chief lamented. He further disclosed that the chiefdom’s woes have been compounded by the destruction of roads, bridges and culverts.
“This is rendering the chiefdom inaccessible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” the chief explained, adding that the humanitatian condition of his subjects is deplorable as they lack food, medicines and clothings.
Reports reaching this press from the chiefdom talk of human skeletons parading the bushes of the towns and villages in search of herbs and roots for food. They also maintained that the people there have nothing absolutely to boast of as a people.
The paramount chief called on the government in particular through its National Commission for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Resettlement (NCDDR) and local and international NGOs, to come to the aid of the people of Neya chiefdom in order to avert another humanitarian crisis. “We know we are Sierra Leoneans and the government is responsible for us. We therefore expect its urgent response at this point in time”, P.C. Fankolai optimistically stated.
Dutch Businessman Donates to Vocational Institute
A Dutch Businesman, Willem Poelsma of the Kringloop Winkel, Holland has donated two sewing machines, typewriters, five wheel chairs and twenty-one bales of second-hand clothing to the NCPA Vocational Institute in Freetown.
Making the presentation at the new location of the NCPA, Tower Hill, to one of the Associate Directors, Mr. Saidu P Kargbo, Mr. Poelsma said that although he did not plan for the donation while in Holland, he hoped that the students, staff and the proprietor will accept the token gifts as a goodwill gesture since he only responded to the casual request made to him by the Proprietor and the Executive Director of the institution, Mr. Unisa Alim Sesay.
The Businessman however promised to render substantial assistance to the institute when he returned home. He said his intention was primarily to boost the Carpentry Department to enable youths and ex-combatants willing to learn and acquire skills for self reliance and hence improve their earning power and eventually their social status.
The Project Director of the NCPA Vocational Institute, Mr. Unisa Alim Sesay who chaired the presentation ceremony, while commending Mr. Willem Poelsma for his generosity observed that although the institution had suffered an irreparable loss of 43 million leones worth of equipment, books and furniture as well as the burning down of the building that housed the institution at Kissy Road, said this was the time for all Sierra Leoneans to forget about the atrocities of the war and reconcile with each other for prosperity.
He said although their donor described the
presentation as a token, the institution did
appreciate the gesture, expressing the hope that
sewing machines and typewriters will definitely
improve the skills of many Sierra Leonean youths.
Rosy Welcome For P.C Bomboli II
Thousands of Koya indigenes including some top government dignitaries converged at Masiaka last Saturday to give a heroic welcome to their Paramount Chief, Alhaji Bai Kompa Bomboli II, after his return from this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca.
In his welcome address, the Acting Paramount Chief , Pa Alimamy Ojuku Sesay, told the audience that nothing could develop the chiefdom without peace and unity among its members. He therefore told the people to co-operate with the paramount chief whom he described as a symbol of unity in the chiefdom.
In his address, PC Alhaji Bomboli II stated that in all the several places he visited during his hajj, he prayed fervently for peace and unity to return to this land. He spoke of the constraints encountered during the hajj and how they were marginalised by certain government dignitaries in Freetown on their arrival at the Lungi International airport.
In his contribution, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Okere Adams, spoke on the SLPP government’s intention to maintain the existence of traditional institutions like that of the chieftaincy.
“We have respect for traditional rulers because we know that paramount chiefs command support among the people,” he said.
Mr. Sheka Mansaray, the National Security Adviser spoke of the need to unify the different families in the chiefdom so as to ensure progress.
The Chairman of the Koya Community Development Association who also chaired the occasion, Abdul Kabbah Kargbo, appealed for unity and cooperation in the chiefdom. Mr. Chernor Kanu moved the vote of thanks.
MONDAY APRIL 10TH 2000
The Minister of Finance Dr. James Jonah has disclosed that government is planning to increase the salaries of civil servants across the board.
According to the Minister, instructions from the president have already reached him to make a case study of the cost of living in the country. He has in turn instructed the Central Statistics Department to conduct a market survey on certain basic commodities including foodstuffs, the minister said. He maintained that Le80 billion have been estimated by government to meet the proposed increment but lamented on the high rate of ghost workers on the vouchers of certain ministries.
He said that this has caused much concern to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are the funding agents. He also stated that tackling the ghost workers’ issue is one of the conditions for the release of the funds since they (IMF) are with the belief that the estimate presented by government is enormous.
Mr. Jonah singled out the ministries of Education, Agriculture and Health as being notorious in this phenomenon. He maintained therefore that there is urgent need to cut down drastically on this ghost workers’ phenomenon to enhance the disbursement of the funds.
However, it was not readily made clear as to when this exercise will take effect. But the Minister cautioned that his ministry will be giving higher consideration to running costs, which is having tremendous loads on workers.
Simultaneous disarmament begins Monday
The long awaited simultaneous disarmament of combatants from all factions will start today, Monday April 10, 2000 in the eastern provincial town of Segbwema.
This arrangement was reached after a successful joint meeting of the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (NCDDR) which comprises president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Chairman Johnny Paul Koroma, ECOMOG Force Commander, General Gabriel Kpamber and UNAMSIL Force Commander, General V.K. Jetley.
During the meeting at the Presidential lodge on Friday, president Kabbah informed the gathering that if it is money that is slowing the disarmament of combatants, the international community has assured him of their willingness to help in that direction.
He informed all that the just concluded donors’ meeting in London was very successful but that they all expressed concern over the snail pace of the disarmament. He urged all combatant leaders to join forces to accelerate the disarmament of combatants for it to take the fast track.
It was also agreed that those combatants who were farmers and are not willing to go into DDR camps after the disarmament are free to do so provided they do not occupy other people’s houses.
President Kabbah also disclosed that ECOWAS chairman, Alpha Omar Konare of Mali, will attend the next Joint Implementation Committee meeting to be held in Freetown later this month. He disclosed that government is planning a ceremony for the destruction of arms and ammunition collected so far to coincide with the visit. Chairman Sankoh said at the meeting that he had long been waiting to go to Segbwema to disarm his men, while Chairman Johnny Paul Koroma assured the meeting that he will be sending a team of competent men to disarm his men in Segbwema.
If UNAMSIL can logistically arrange it, several parliamentarians have been invited by Chairman Sankoh to witness the disarmament in Segbwema, Kailahun and Buedu towns.
Meanwhile, Cheif Hinga Norman will also be co-ordinating the simultaneous disarmament of his kamajor factions.
The speed of disarmament throughout Sierra Leone should henceforth be unhindered as more peacekeepers are pouring in to boost UNAMSIL's numerical capacity. Over 200 Jordanian soldiers are reported to have already arrived to join the UN peacekeepers from India, Kenya, Guinea and Nigeria.
Vice President Dr. Albert Joe Demby most belatedly in a press statement repeatedly aired over the national radio this weekend denied of having received any bribe from anybody or influence the issuance of any licence to any business enterprise.
Though Vice President Demby has refuted the allegations, The Pool stands by its earlier story that the he indeed influenced the withdrawal of Kamtoko’s licence in favour of Jagico Enterprises of Lamrana Sow.
Our latest investigations confirmed that the brain behind Jagico Enterprises, M. Patteh Diallo is operating a cabal in Freetown, headed by Lamrana Sow, which comprises also of Wurie ‘Lofty’ Sow, who heads AMOBA Enterprises at 3 Sani Abacha Street and Ibrahim ‘Bus Station’ Jalloh.
Lamrana Sow, from our findings, has no account in Sierra Leone. Rather, all monies accrued from the sale of Boss Cigarettes and other brands he smuggles into the country, namely, West, Paramount and Delta cigarettes are deposited into the account of Amoba Enterprises at the Rokel Commercial Bank, Siaka Stevens Street.
Besides Boss cigarette, the other three brands, West, Paramount and Delta are not meant to be sold in this country. Each packet of these cigarettes has the inscription ‘Vente en Guinee’ meaning ‘to be sold in Guinea’.
All containers imported are offloaded in the Guinean Port and taxes paid to the Guinean government and then transported to Sierra Leone on trucks and boats.
Our investigations further revealed that most of the Boss cigarettes are smuggled by sea from Guinea to Bo via the Moyamba river through the connivance of top government officials.
“This is leading the government to lose billions of leones as taxes due to the nefarious acts by these foreigners,” a businesman remarked.
The questions most Sierra Leoneans are asking are, why should the government withdraw a licence from an indigenous Sierra Leonean and give it to a foreigner? Is this not a deliberate attempt by the government to discourage Sierra Leoneans from investing in their own country?
This press will continue to pursue this matter until justice is done.
UNAMSIL arrests 30 rebel soldiers
The United Nations Assistance Mission to Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) soldiers last Tuesday arrested thirty former Sierra Leone soldiers who are still holding out into the bush.
The thirty were travelling in a boat carrying over 40 bundles of second hand corrugated iron sheets. They were heading for Portee wharf through the Port Loko River when they were chased and captured.
It is no longer a secret that the former fighters who are still holding in the bush refusing to disarm, especially those at the notorious Okra Hills, have destroyed over sixty villages in the Koya and Maforki chiefdoms along the River Rokel.
Some of these destroyed villages include Makasie, Magbanku, Rosarr, Mahera, Maconteh and Magbeni, all in the Koya Chiefdom. Other villages such as Mabala, Robump, Rogberay, Rofurawah, Magbethen, Maboni, Makin, Magbaingbarah and Komrabai all in the Maforki chiefdom have also been destroyed.
All the houses in these villages have had their zinc removed by these former fighters.
Our investigations revealed that the Freetown traders who are the main buyers of these second hand corrugated iron sheets go right into the jungle bases of the rebels to give them advance payment, thereby encouraging the rebels to go about unroofing zinc houses in a bid to meet these traders' demands.
Police to crush Economic saboteurs
The Police force, in view of its promise made to this nation as highlighted in its mission statement, has begun to trek towards achieving that aim.
In a consultative meeting convened by Mr. Somansa, the Director of CID held at the Police Headquarters, Thursday 6th April 2000, members of the public including businessmen and journalists brainstormed on how economic crimes could be curbed.
In his preliminary submission, Mr. Somansa revealed that there has been an increase in the crime rate especially in the economic sector. He pointed directly at money doubling, illegal foreign currency peddling and drugs which he said are parallel crimes. He maintained that these are not auguring well for the current state of the economy. He also stated that their actions are detrimental to the activities of those business concerns engaged in legal transactions.
Mr. Somansa lamented the shortcomings of the police in their inability to prosecute these offenders. According to him, this is because the police lack sufficient evidence against the offenders. He stated further that the law itself provides more protection to them (offenders) than for their indictment.
Contributing, Alhaji Alim Sesay of the First Foreign Exchange Bureau in his capacity as Acting President for the Association of Foreign Exchange Bureaus expressed his disgust at the nuisance these foreign exchange peddlers are causing to his members. He revealed that there are twenty-three registered forex bureaus within the business district of Freetown and one in Lungi.
“These are faced with the threat of bankruptcy since they are complaining of ineffective business,” Mr. Sesay stated. He also expressed concern over the proliferation of illegal forex bureaus that are undermining their efforts. He urged the Police to be consistent in their raids against them.
Mr. P Asaadi Koroma stated that this act of illegal trade in forex is having no benefit for indegenes as majority of those engaged in this business are foreigners.
Mr Somansa promised to follow to the letter all that was suggested by contributors.
FRIDAY APRIL 7TH 2000
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday April 7, 2000 observe World Health Day at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown.
Speaking during a press conference last Tuesday, the Director of Medical Srvices, Dr. Alhaji Sheku Tejan Kamara told his audience that this year’s theme, “Save Blood” comprised several participants including the Vice President, Joe Demby.
He said the essence of this day was to address some of the health issues which are pertinent to every member of the community.
Explaining the various constituents of blood, Dr. Kamara disclosed that blood itself is a carrier of diseases that can kill. He made particular references to the HIV AIDS virus for which he appealed to the community to take adequate control measures in order to avoid the disease.
He appealed to the people to save blood in order to save life. Dr. Kamara disclosed that the Health Ministry has technocrats that can handle the health problems of any community.
On this part Dr Patrick Moses who is the Programme Manager in the department of HIVS AIDS dilated on the various ways through which diseases are transmited and prevented.
He said one of them is Abstinence Behaviour Change.
"The Vehicles are gifts!" - Foday Sankoh.
Chairman Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front Party and Chairman of the Commission for the Management of the Strategic Resources , has dismissed as "total rubbish", press reports that the fleet of vehicles recently cleared by him are meant for renewed hostilies.
The RUFP leader disclosed that he had no such intention, stressing, “some newspapers would close down when they run out of stories about Sankoh”.
Chairman Sankoh remarked that certain newspapers have mounted a campaign to smear his name and mislead the people with the ultimate intention of creating resentment and hate against him.
The CMRRD chairman revealed that the vehicles were a gift from some of his good friends in the United States to help him provide logistical support in the disarmament of former combatants.
“These vehicles would be made available to convey ex-combatants to DDR camps as UNAMSIL is always complaining of transportation constraints. People should not cause unnecessary panic by wickedly spreading baseless and unfounded stories,” Sankoh asserted.
Asked whether he had documentation to prove that the trucks and jeeps were indeed gifts, Sankoh promptly produced copies of correspondence to corroborate his claim.
Sankoh then added, “Just wait and see. Before I start campaigning, helicopters would be added to my acquisition. In fact I was also given 84 cartons of assorted drugs to augment the needs of the medical staff of the Organisation for the Survival of Mankind (OSM), an NGO co-ordinated by the RUFP”.
Meanwhile, chairman Sankoh has told this reporter that he would physically participate in the disarmament process henceforth to demonstrate his sincerity and commitment to the peace process. He declared that displaced persons wishing to return to their homes would be transported free of cost.
“Our displaced people are assured of my cooperation at all times”, he concluded.
Le2million bail for Editors
A bail of one million leones and one surety each was granted to the Publisher and the Editor of this press, Chernoh Ojuku Sesay and Osman F. Koroma respectively when they appeared before Magistrate C. J. Cole at court No 4.
Appearing on two count charges of criminal libel on Wednesday, April 5, the two defendants were represented by legal luminary Edward Akar while the complainant, Olu Gordon of For Di People newspaper, was represented by Messrs Reginald S. Fynn and I. M Bah.
According to the particulars of offence, the defendants are alleged to have published a defamatory libel concerning the complainant on March 29, this year, in contravention of section 26 of the Public Order Act No. 46 of 1965.
The legal representative for the complainant, R.S. Fynn, applied for the two parties not to write anything about each other again for the duration of the trial. The application was granted by Magistrate Cole who warned that any journalist who contravened the rules of the court would be sent to Pademba Road Prisons.
The case was adjourned to April 19 this year.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 5TH 2000
A huge crowd gathered at the ports yesterday to witness the RUFP Leader, Foday Sankoh inspect a fleet of eleven new vehicles which he had shipped some time ago. Eight German-made MAN diesel trucks and three Hilux jeeps were among the consignment he cleared at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay.
In a brief interview with pressmen, Chairman Sankoh revealed that he had personally gone to the Quay to ensure that every item was opened and contents thoroughly examined to satisfy the Ports authorities and comply with standard clearing regulations.
“Some people might give different imterpretations if the trucks weren’t opened and checked”, Sankoh observed. The RUFP leader disclosed that he had bought the vehicles in readiness for politics adding, “I want to be adequately prepared before launching into full-fledged campaigning”.
Customs officers interviewed disclosed that they were satisfied that nothing contraband was included in Sankoh’s consignments, noting further that everything had been done according to established rules. When asked whether any customs waiver was granted chairman Sankoh, a senior customs worker, attached to the Operations Department replied that Sankoh had insisted that he paid in full the duties levied on his imports, because, according to Sankoh,no one was above the law.
A female police officer, of the Harbour police station who was present at the Quay, noted that if every member of government were to emulate the fine example of Sankoh and stop demanding Customs Concessions, the country will experience a boost in customs revenue. A close aide of Sankoh’s disclosed that the total customs tariff paid is in excess of Le 50 million leones.
256 Now in Daru Demobilisation Centre
Latest reports from the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration show that the Daru demobilisation centre presently has a total of 256 ex-combatants now occupying the centre. The centre when fully functionalwill have the capacity of taking in 2000 ex-combatants to go through the demobilisation process.
According to Mr. John Jusu, the NCDDR Liaison Officer in the centre, who is on a routine visit to Freetown and paid a visit to this press, of this number which was recorded on Saturday 25th March, 230 are ex-SLAs, while 26 are RUF ex-combatants. He said that a good number of the ex-SLAs have the intention of rejoining the restructured army.
Mr. Jusu reported that life in the centre is peaceful and that almost half of them have so far received welfare allowances of Le50,000 each, while others are due to receive theirs this week.
It is also reliably learnt that though there is a cordial relationship between members of the former fighting groups in Daru, RUF men have been intimidating their SLA colleagues who dare to disarm, claiming that the SLAs have betrayed their common leader, Chairman Sankoh by agreeing to disarm. It is even claimed that at times they punish the SLAs for ‘betrayal’.
According to Mr. Jusu, an Indian contingent of UNAMSIL troops is now stationed at Daru towen and have been responsible for security in the township.
‘There is a free flow of vehicular traffic to and from Daru town and indeed up to places like Kailahun,’ Mr. Jusu said, pointing out that ex-combatants mingle with civilians in the township without harassing them. The only concern of the people in the township, he said, is the slow pace of the disarmament process which, he said, is the concern of every well-meaning Sierra Leonean citizen at this point in time.
Sankoh, Johnny Paul meet Friday for peace talks
Chairman Foday Sankoh and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnny Paul Koroma will meet this Friday at the Cape Sierra Hotel to iron out any differences that might be between the two for total peace to return to the country.
The peace meeting was originally scheduled to have taken place yesterday at the same venue but due to what the organisers described as “certain eleventh hour development beyond our control we had to postpone it to Friday.
Chairman Sankoh of the RUF and chairman Johnny Paul Koroma of the AFRC are major stakeholders to the Lome Peace Accord who have not been seeing eye to eye for the past two months, each pointing finger to the other for not being sincere to the peace agreement.
Sankoh said he is ready to meet with any one at any time as long as it is geared towards bringing lasting peace in the country.
Johnny Paul, who is chairman of the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (CCP) said it is ridiculous for people to realise that he is not on good terms with Sankoh when he is supposed to convince other people to mend fences with others.
The nation awaits this historic meeting on Friday.
In absence of Pa Kabbah....
The acting President of Sierra Leone, Vice President Dr. Albert Joe Demby is currently using his executive powers to harrass journalists who have been exposing the Boss Cigarrette Bribery Allegations levied against him.
Last weekend, CID personel raided the offices of several newshouses inviting their editors to the CID for what they termed as "Investigations into the Demby Bribery reports."
However, the current Police Inspector General of Police, IG Biddle who is working day and night to provide Sierra Leone with an effective police force and who has won the hearts of many Sierra Leoneans ensured that the editors were merely questioned and released.
In the front page of their Monday's edition, Freetown's For Di People Newspaper whose editors spent hours being grilled at CID over their Demby bribery exposes, blasted the Vice President for abusing his executive powers to effect the arrest and harrassment of pressmen.
Meanwhile, President Kabbah is expected back in Sierra Leone this week.
Armed Robbers attack Pool boss
Armed Robbers during the early hours of yesterday attacked the Wellington residence of Pool Managing Editor, Chernor Ojuku Sesay and carted away some valuable items and later matcheted his left leg.
The editor was however not admitted, his leg wound was only treated and discharged.
Armed robbery has become rampant in the Kissy/Wellington/Old Road areas at recent times as people are constantly raided in their residences, some killed while others sustain injuries.
Just last week, SAFECON petrol station at Cline Town was attacked by armed robbers killing one of the salesmen. Last Monday night, newly recruited soldiers were apprehended as suspected armed robbers at Portee.
The police at Kissy are doing nothing to patrol the Kissy/Wellington axis for reasons best known to themselves.
SLPP's Shirley Gbujama is a mess
The 150 Sierra Leonean pilgrims who made this year’s Hajj to the Holy land of Mecca returned last Monday with series of compaints against officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs on how they were cheated.
The pilgrims disclosed that they paid the sum of US$2,300 as demanded by the ministry. This money was to take care of everything including helicopter service to and from Lungi and the buying of the sacrificial lamb in Mecca.
Before the departure of the pilgrims, the Ministry promised to refund US$65 to each pilgrim, since the Ministry later discovered that their charges were exorbitant. About 50 pilgrims received their US$65 before departure while the others were promised to get theirs in Mecca. Nothing was given to them.
Again, the Permament Secretary of the Ministry who accompanied the pilgrims told the pilgrims that each one will be given another US$150 in Mecca for their sacrificial lambs. Of this amount, only US$100 was given to the pilgrims. The pilgrims requested the US$50 balance, again, it was not forthcoming.
Some of the pilgrims were asked to travel by ferry on their return instead of the other helicopter service which each pilgrim had earlier paid for US$60.
“The entire arrangement was just a total mess. They subjected us to lot of sufferings and humiliation,” Alhaji K., a male pilgrim retorted.
“The entire Hajj arrangements should be removed from the hands of that Ministry and handed over to competent and honest people, instead of Shirley Gbujama, who is a born again Christian and knows nothing about Hajj,” an angry female pilgrim said.
Armed men cause panic
Armed men in military fatigues in the early hours of Monday 3rd April 2000, caused considerable panic to civilians along Kissy Road and its environs.
It was about 12:45am when the said armed men, six in number, attacked 89 Kissy Road, the residence of late Agibu Jalloh, in an apparent attempt to rob. They fired sporadic gun-shots in the area, but their attempt was squashed by the timely arrival of the night patrol team.
Four of the assailants were reported arrested and the two managed to escape. Civilians had already panicked as the shooting was reminiscent of the January 6, 1999 invasion of the city by the rebel alliance of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front.
In a related development sounds of gun-fire were heard around Mountain Cut. Eye witnesses say a group of SLA ex-combatants were resisting arrest by two members of the reformed army after the curfew deadline.
In spite of the joint police/ECOMOG patrol code-named, ‘Operation Clean City’, and though some outstanding successes have been made in a move to curb armed robbery within the city, the trend still continues unabated.
It could be recalled that on Monday 27th March 2000, about 21:30GMT armed men attacked the Safecon petrol station on the Freetown/Waterloo highway, killing a man and fatally injuring two others.
Police say they are investigating.
Teachers suspend strike to April 30
The Sierra Leone Teachers Union, SLTU, has suspended the current teachers’ strike action to April 30 and called on all teachers to “take their rightful places” in their various institutions.
According to a communique released by the SLTU headquarters, signed by the Acting Secretary-General, Davidson Kuyateh, the recognition of the Collective Agreement will remain intact until revised by the Teaching Service Trade Group Negotiating Council (TSTGNC).
The statement said the cheques for January and February, 2000 salaries have been issued to employing authorities nationwide except for those without paid up vouchers.
Payment of new teachers for January and February 2000, the communique stated, has commenced and payment of backlog salaries including arrears for new teachers nationwide is already in progress and will be completed nationwide against April 15, 2000.
The statement added that school fees for classes 1-3 for the first term have already been paid to employing authorities and those of the second term are vigorously pursued by SLTU.
The statement assured all teachers that the union will continue to facilitate the contuinity of supply of school materials.
Our investigations revealed that teachers in most schools commenced effective teaching yesterday.
Olu Gordon , Pool editors appear in court today
Olu Gordon of For Di People newspaper has dragged the editors of The Pool newspaper to court. According to a criminal summons served The Pool Press yesterday, signed by Lawyer R.S.Fynn, Chernor Ojuku Sesay (Publisher) and Osman F.Koroma (Editor) are to appear at Court No. 4 this morning to answer to two count charges of Libel. Count one states that the two published a defamatory libel concerning Olu Gordon on the 29th of March, 2000. The same goes for count two.
Olu, abandoned the idea of a SLAJ disciplinary action against Chernor Ojuku Sesay which he was advocating for since last week.
SLAJ, from our investigations, did not take Olu’s complaint serious as Olu Gordon has either insulted or ridicule almost all respectable and professional journalists in the association itself, including the president, Frank Kposowa, Vice president Sorie Fofanah, Head of SLAJ disciplinary committee, Rod Mac - Johnson, Reuters correspondent, Christo Johnson and SLENA Managing Editor, Abdul Jalloh.
“If this man had insulted us and continues to insult respectable people in society, who will take his complaint about someone ridiculing him serious?” an executive member of SLAJ remarked.
“The man feels he is a saint. He is hiding under the umbrella of democracy. Olu is a killer per excellence. Some of his writings against respectable people in this country are tantamount to, if not worse than, the rebels who take guns and matchetes to kill and amputate people”, a member of Freetown's Civil society remarked.
MONDAY APRIL 3RD 2000
Former AFRC soldiers serving in the 16th Battallion stationed at Ngaya near Yengema in the Nimikoro chiefdom are reported to be causing series of problems for both the RUF command and civilians in Kono.
The ex-combatants, mainly indigenes of Kono, were recently disarmed and demobilised at Port Loko and Lungi, but are reported to be still carrying arms.
According to impeccable sources, on Tuesday 28th March 2000, a group of these ‘AWOL’ ex-combatants carrying arms attacked a vehicle in broad day light at the Ngaya junction. They ordered the passengers out at gun-point and cleared them of all their cash and valuables.
They were reported to have fired shots in the air before escaping through the forests nearby. The gun shots were said to have caused pandemonium and panic among both the civilians and the RUF who thought it was an attack by UNAMSIL forces currently deployed in parts of the district..
However, all the perpetrators were reportedly arrested within twenty-four hours by RUF's Crack Anti-Looting Squad. Most of the money and valuables are said to have been returned and the RUF command in Kono headed by Colonel Issa Sesay was quoted as saying that the culprits would not be released until every single item robbed from the passengers had been produced.
Reports from civilians travelling to and from Kono stated that there was no security threat to civilian lives and properties. It was further disclosed that civilians were free to buy articles in the open market without any fear of harassment or intimidation.
Meanwhile, Colonel Issa is said to have ordered the clearing of the air strip at Yengema in preparation for the pending UNAMSIL deployment. He is reported to have told his boys during a meeting that they should be prepared for disarmament now that there is peace, and that nothing should be allowed to derail it.
Kamtoko to drag Trade Ministry to Court
Solicitors of Kamtoko Africa Trade Links, Banta Chambers, are dusting their files in preparation for what they described as a big showdown with the Ministry of Trade and State Enterprises.
They will be prosecuting the Ministry for breach of contract. According to the solicitors, they cannot understand the rationale behind the Ministry’s refusal to renew Kamtoko’s licence for specific imports while it remains the substantive holder of the Trade Mark for the goods in question. They are poised to contest the legality of this action in relation to the relevant codes of law.
This will be the first showdown between a government department and an indigene since the tabling of the bill in Parliament that gives citizens the right to take court action against either the government or any of its organs for breaches or excesses.
Investigations carried out by this press revealed that the Boss cigarette currently imported by Jagico carries the inscription, ‘Vente en Guinee, with no health warning. This in itself contravenes the policy guiding the importation of foreign cigarettes in the country. By this, our investigations have also shown, government is losing an enormous amount of income as the main delivery point of this particular brand of cigarette is in neighbouring Guinea. Our investigations have further discovered a high level of smuggling of this brand as a substantial percentage of cigarette sellers interviewed maintained that they would continue buying from Jagico.
What is however not clear to most concerned citizens on this Boss cigarettes fiasco is the Ministry’s insistence that it was not bound by the law but rather the trade policy. Come the day, this will be made clear.
It could be recalled that Kamtoko Africa Trade Links spent a staggering Le7 million in its Boss cigarette launching ceremony and had only enjoyed a year of its operations. The relationship between Kamtoko and its German suppliers is said to be excellent.
No looting at Ordnance
A Press release from Defence Headquarters states has described a back page story of the Herald Guardian Newspaper of Friday 24th March, 2000 headlined, “No Security, SLAs on the Move” as malicious and misleading bent on misrepresenting the Sierra Leone Army and derail the peace process.
The newspaper report stated that “there is wide spread looting of arms and ammunition by the SLAs currently deployed at the Army Ordnance Service in Murray Town”. The report further alleged that the rationale behind the stealing of these weapons is for use for another coup or to loot armless civilians at night or DDR purposes.
According to the newspaper, a Lance Corporal, Joseph Moinama who was on duty on the 19th march, 2000 stole an AK riffle and hid it at the Evangelical Bible College compound when a crusade was in progress with the aim of retrieving it on the following night.
“The Defence Headquarters would like to inform the general public that there had been no looting of arms and ammunition at the Army Ordinance Depot. Only an AK 47 riffle without working parts was recently discovered by members of the Evangelical Church, which they handed over to soldiers on duty at Ordinance” the press release ends.
MARCH 31ST 2000
The callous and rampant misuse of International telephone lines (IDD) facilities by government functionaries and their refusal to pay these bills to the Sierra Leone Telecommunications Company (SIERRATEL) may collapse the company.
Investigations carried by The Pool press have revealed that the President, Vice President, Cabinet ministers, Parliamentarians, Directors and Permanent Secretaries with IDD facilities owe the company about Le700 million.
For example, SIERRATEL documents showed to The Pool by Sierratel senior management revealed the
Our investigations further revealed that all the above government functionaries with IDD facilities allow their concubines, in-laws, friends and relatives to use these facilities both in their offices and homes to make international calls on a daily basis with no regard to the financial loss this has on the company.
Sierratel has been constantly criticised for been corrupt and inefficient. Though the company directors have been complaining about the failure of government officials to settle their huge bills, the authorities have deliberately failed to take the necessary action to retrieve the money.
NPA to improve electricity supply
The Minister of Energy and Power, Alimamy Paolo Bangura, in a press briefing at the Electricity House, Siaka Stevens Street on Tuesday 28th march 2000 disclosed that NPA would boost the efficiency and generating capacity in the energy sector.
He was speaking on the theme ‘Activities of the Energy Sector Up To Date’. He stated that through their innovation, NPA will guarantee an equitable distribution of light throughout the city to avert public out cry and accusation for marginalisation. He maintained that there has been a marked improvement in energy supply in the last couple of months.
The minister asserted however that as at now NPA is only managing with one machine, Sultzer-five, and that management is currently engaged in discussions with the world bank for funding the provision of spare parts to reactivate this machine and the others; Sulza Four and Mitsubishi. This exercise, he stated, is expected to end in June of this year.
In his appraisal of the talks with the World Bank, the minister expressed optimism and stated that they have reached a stage which he described as encouraging, explaining that the World Bank experts have not expressed any objections to management’s proposal for use of the funds.
He further revealed that currently NPA is generating a capacity of 7.5 megawatts which, by their estimation, would be improved to 15 megawatts by September. He also stated that for many years now, the highest capacity output of NPA was 24 megawatts. He stated further that a new power supply mechanism known as the Independent Power Provider (IPP) is being devised . This is aimed at alternating the flow of power with the generators at the power house.
“Bids were advertised for the provision of such power supply, but only one responded and that came after the deadline for submission. As a result, the bidding system is been extended and management is now studying series of proposals sent in that respect,” the minister explained.
The minister disclosed that there will be a donor conference in May that is expected to bring together relevant and interested parties in order to plan strategies for improving the energy sector, and called for the active participation of the private sector and ordinary citizens. He expressed government’s plans to increase tariffs as a way of offsetting cost price on fuel and spares.
The minister registered NPA’s determination to win consumer confidence first as this will ensure complaince with payment of bills.
However, he lamented about the acts of sabotage and vandalisation of transformer stations at the Wellington and Kissy areas. He expessed his concern over the diabolic efforts of detractors and unpatriotic persons in undermining the efforts of NPA.
The minister urged all patriotic citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious movements to the nearest police station. “Once you cooperate with NPA in this regard, you are assured of a stable energy supply,” he assured.
Olu, why call SLAJ?
My attention was drawn yesterday to a letter of complaint against me, written by Olu Gordon, addressed to the president of SLAJ for ‘disciplinary action’. Thanks to New Storm Newspaper for publishing that letter.
I had no intention of reacting since I was not copied but for expediency sake, I decided to throw this brief reaction.
I did not expect a man like Olu Gordon to complain, since the article in question appeared in our satire column, “Public Eye”as he rightly mentioned in his letter.
The said article in “Public Eye” was in response to an article that appeared in the satire column of For Di People Newspaper, “People’s Peep” whose author, everybody knows, is Richie Olu Gordon. The said article in ‘Peep’ was well tailored and calculated to ridicule the author of Sierra Leone’s most popular column, Agony Of A Collaborator.
PEEP, readers could attest, is the most notorious column in the Sierra Leone press for insulting and ridiculing people. Olu is using that column to insult, intimidate, ridicule, and provoke people or situations all the time, but nobody has ever complained him to SLAJ for disciplinary action.Why only now? So it is painful?
Is this not the same Olu Gordon, under his PEEP column that called the SLPP a ‘totally hopelessly useless government’(THUG), Mike Lamin and Sankoh as cocaine sniffers, Jonah as a intellectual crook? Have these people ever complained to SLAJ for disciplinary action? Well, Olu, the saying goes that the rain that beats the lime tree to make it sour is the same that beats the sugar cane plant to make it sweet. By the way, what goes around comes around.
I am waiting for SLAJ’s invitation, and of course colleague journalists will be witnesses to the trial of the millennium between Ojuku and Olu.
Chernor Ojuku Sesay.