Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, has concluded highly successful meetings with the Saudi Fund for Development and the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Professor David J. Francis held a fruitful meeting with Dr. Sultan Al-Marshad, Chief Executive Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). In the meeting, Dr. Al-Marshad reaffirmed SFD’s commitment to expedite the following projects:
(a)- The twenty-five Million United States Dollars ($25,000,000) Education Sector Support Project for the construction of four (4) Regional Model Schools, two (2) vocational institutes and an administrative building at the Ministry of Education in Freetown
(b)- The five million United States Dollars ($5,000,000) for the construction of 100 solar-powered bore holes for rural communities in 77 villages across Sierra Leone
(C)- The construction of the 150 beds King Salman Regional Referral Hospital project
In his statement, Professor David Francis commended SFD for funding the implementation of the Western Area Power Generation Project, the Kenema-Pendembu Road Reconstruction Project and the rehabilitation and expansion of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
In another related development, the leadership of King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief, has expressed consideration to support Sierra Leone’s School Feeding Programme (SFP) next academic year. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Professor David Francis, made a case that the SFP is key to the success of the Government’s Free Quality Education programme, especially in the rural areas. The Advisor at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah advised that, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), through the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia, present an indicative budget for the SFP for consideration at the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David J. Francis, was accompanied by the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prince E.O Cole, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh, the Director of Middle East & Asia of the Ministry Abdul Aziz Turay, the Director of Ministerial Follow-Up of the Ministry Abraham John, the First Secretary at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia Mohamed Sulaiman Sankoh, and the Information Attaché at the Embassy Abubakarr Bah.
SIERRA LEONEANS IN SAUDI ARABIA MEET FOREIGN MINISTER
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has assured Sierra Leonean students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of job opportunities upon completion of their courses and subsequent return home.
Professor David J. Francis was speaking during an interactive meeting with a cross section of Sierra Leonean nationals and students at the Sierra Leone Chancery in Riyadh on Thursday.
Professor Francis said as Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister he was pleased to meet and interact with the staff of the Embassy and cross section of students and Sierra Leonean nationals.
“I am pleased to inform, especially the students here, that we are on the verge of completing the construction of a new Foreign Service Academy. The courses you are pursuing are beneficial to Sierra Leone and be rest assured that there are job opportunities for you in Sierra Leone upon your return,” Professor Francis assured.
The Foreign Minister reaffirmed President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to Human Capital Development, especially the Free Quality Education, which he described as the flagship of the New Direction administration. He disclosed that, during his fruitful meetings with the authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he made a request for increase in scholarships and that there was strong commitment from the Saudi authorities to increase scholarships to 50 per annum for 5 years.
The Minister also responded to requests made by the President of the Sierra Leone Students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The President of the Union, Zachariah Barrie, had earlier, on behalf of students in the Kingdom, appealed to the Foreign Minister for the Government of Sierra Leone to provide them with allowances, wave off COVID-19 test fees for students travelling from or returning to Sierra Leone after their studies, shipment support of their property, and employment opportunities upon graduation.
Professor Francis instructed the Students Union President to liaise with the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh, for the issues to be addressed.
Professor Francis also commended the Sierra Leone Embassy especially the Ambassador, Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh adding that he was very proud of how the ambassador had cemented diplomatic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on the verge of opening its Embassy in Freetown under the New Direction Government for the first time in 42 years of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries. During my engagement with my counterpart, I presented Sierra Leone as a land of opportunities, more so in the areas of tourism, agriculture, mining, trade and investment.” Professor Francis concluded.
In his statement, Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh thanked the Minister for attending the familiarization meeting organized by the Sierra Leone Embassy despite his busy schedule. He said Sierra Leone and Saudi Arabia had a bilateral relation spanning four decades and that Sierra Leone had benefited a lot from Saudi Arabia in the areas of education, health and infrastructural support.
Ambassador Jalloh informed the Minister that Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom “are good ambassadors of Sierra Leone because of their good attitude and peacefulness, which the Saudi Authorities acclaim.”
Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) in Saudi Arabia, Colonel (retired) Simeon Nasiru Sheriff also spoke briefly about the Coalition, global security and Sierra Leone’s remarkable contributions in the IMCTC.
Earlier, President of the Sierra Leone National Union in the Kingdom, Abdulai Conteh, on behalf of the nationals in the Kingdom, welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, describing his visit as timely.
He lauded the Human Capital Development drive of the New Direction government, especially towards the Free Quality Education, which he described as the bedrock of the country’s development.
Mr. Conteh also commended President Julius Maada Bio for appointing Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh -a renowned Islamic scholar who studied in the Kingdom- as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador in the Kingdom. He described Dr Jalloh’s appointment as “one of the best in Sierra Leone’s history because Dr. Jalloh is well known in Saudi Arabia and his vast knowledge in the Arabic language makes his job easier”.
IPAM Student celebrates natalday with less privilege
Many out there do celebrate their birthdays with friends and families and in the best of places, but Ramatu Tarawallie a student of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) University of Sierra Leone, has marked her 25 years birthday with the physically impaired, beggars and orphans at Kissy Road, adjacent Mountain Cut and Savage Square axis in Freetown.
On Monday 24th January 2022 whilst providing the food packs (including assorted soft drinks) for the homeless, Ms. Tarawallie expressed delight for celebrating her birthday with the downtrodden in society and she called on them to eat the food with love.
She pointed out that by the grace of God; she wished to do more for the homeless and other less-privileged in society. She called on others to emulate same by feeding the poor and that the service to humanity comes with abundance blessings from God Almighty.
She expressed that every man is created equal in the sight of God and she went on to say that nothing is too small and God would richly bless the hands that give to those in dire need.
The event was climaxed with joy and appreciation from the homeless, especially the children and prayers were offered for Ramatu Tarawallie and by extension, they called her to visit them from time to time with whatever little she could afford.
Youth Advisory Group to be launched
The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) supported by Plan International Sierra Leone will be establishing a Youth Advisory Group by April this year, with the strategic goal of engaging young people in internal decision-making at all levels in a spirit of collaboration, transparency and mutual learning.
During a roundtable discussion held on Thursday 27th January at the Ministry Conference Hall, New England Ville in Freetown, the Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh stated that last November during the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, he made a commitment to establish a Youth Advisory Group and it is important for the Ministry to begin to actualize that pronouncement two months later.
He said after the establishment, the Ministry will try its level best in ensuring that this Youth Advisory Board goes into the Education Act and this will make it part of the structure in MBSSE.
“The Ministry is providing services for close to three million people which is close to 50 percent of the country’s population. So it doesn’t make sense if young people are not part of the architecture of that decision making. We are starting small with the Youth Advisory Group and that is why we brought them here today in order to brainstorm which will inform the final design of the program,” the minister said.
The Country Director of Plan International Sierra Leone Mr. Evariste Sindayigaya said for Plan, they recognized that by not including young people in their planning and decision making processes, everything they do including governance they are losing huge opportunity, not only in terms of legitimacy or the value of decisions they make, but also the unique perspective that young people bring to their work.
“Young people, the future will be kind to you if you contribute in writing it, and I can’t be more excited today to say that the Honorable Minister and the leadership of the Ministry has given you a platform to join them in writing your own history, your own future, therefore do not underestimate this opportunity,” he said.
He said their responsibility with support from MBSSE is to make sure that they develop together pathways of young people into leadership, and it is towards this objective they will direct their effort, energy and resources.
“I want to make a commitment that Plan International Sierra Leone will continue to make sure that the voices of young people are heard and are valued,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Education (1) encouraged young people to continue to break barriers, noting that they are on the verge of leaving and they need vibrant young people to take after them.
Youth Advocacy Group will comprise sixteen members each representing their own district, four (4) members – one each from the following groups: Special needs Institution, Parent Learners, Tertiary or Vocational Institutions; and Remote/hard-to-reach area, and a minimum of eight (8) females.
The most important selection criteria for YAG members will be that they are creative and innovative thinkers and highly motivated to drive change. Formal educational qualification will not be a criterion for selection. Rather, the selection process will identify young people with bright minds and high potential.
During the roundtable discussion, Sorie Korombo and Mariam Samai who are youths working with Plan International Sierra Leone, did a presentation on what young people desire from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education when the Youth Advisory Group is established.
Human Rights Commission Updates Journalists on Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct
By Anthony Vandy
The Human Right Sierra Leone has called a press conference to update the media on the proposed of public inquiry into the conduct of law enforcement officers (Military,(RSLAF) Police,(SLP) Fire force, Correctional Service, and Road Safety Cops.)
Section 5 subsection (2) Paragraph (b) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 provides that “the security Peace and warfare of the people of Sierra Leone shall be the primary purpose and responsibility of government, and to this end it shall be the duty of the Armed forces, the police, public officers and all security agents to protect and safeguard the people of Sierra Leone”.
Victor Idrissa Lasana Esq, the Vice chairperson- Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone said that to protect and promote the right of all Sierra Leoneans, citizens need to know and aware of their duties and responsibilities.
He said the government established the human rights Commission of Sierra Leone by an act of parliament in 2004. This he said the Commission is to protect and promote human rights in the country and to monitor and document human rights violations as provided for in section 7(2) (f) of the human rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) Act (No.9) 2004.
Victor Idrissa Lasana Esq added that the terms of reference for the public enquiry involves Investigating alleged systemic human rights violations that occurred from 2015 to 2021; examine and determine individual cases of victims of alleged human rights violations and abuses; document, analyze and articulate the human rights issues and violations experienced by affected person(s) as consequence of activities, actions, omissions or negligence of LEOs and private person(s) and finally to produce and publish a report containing key findings, conclusion and recommendations, directives and orders included legal and policy reforms;
He noted that” For the purposes of this inquiry and in accordance with Rule 43(5) of the human rights Commission of Sierra Leone (complaints, investigations and inquiries) Rules, 2008, the Commission has set up secretariat to manage the affairs of the public inquiry.
He said the inquiry is divided into three (3) phases which includes:
Pre- inquiry Stage (January – March).
Inquiry Stage (April-May) and the final stage which is the Post- Inquiry Stage (June to August)
He encouraged the public to participate in the inquiry process.
SAMA Foundation donates Football Jerseys to SLMB Schools
Both Principal, Headteacher and pupils gracing the donation excitement mood
By: Amara Kargbo
The SAMA Foundation, a charitable organization that offers support to the needy, especially in soccer has on the 31st January 2022 donated football jerseys, football and sockets to the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood (SLMB) Junior Secondary and Primary Schools at Congo-Water, Wellington, Freetown.
Sahid Turay, Principal of above the school upon receiving the donation expressed admiration and appreciation for such timely donation in the school.
He explained that the school has been facing constraints in terms of soccer, including lack of Jerseys, football, and others but with such donation; it will ameliorate and motivate the kids to play soccer. The principal continued that soccer has been yielding numerous dividend benefits to young Sierra Leoneans playing football in the country. “The school children are yearning to play football, the foundation should not stop to give it unflinching supports in the future donation,” Principal requested.
The principal gave a background that one of the Executive Members of the SAMA Foundation was once a pupil of the above-mentioned school, and giving back to society what society has given to him was a good gesture.
Shaid Turay also appealed to the organization to come to their aid in improving the infrastructure aspect because they have been seeking assistance from numerous organizations to assist them, currently, the school has over 500 pupils in attendance but the infrastructure is a major setback, and the school needs a storey building to accommodate the majority of the children in the community.
Former School Pupil, Kadiatu Hayes who lives in America, decided to ensure that her father’s vision to help the needy through the SAMA Foundation should continue to thrive in the limelight to assist the school with two sets of jerseys, football and socket for both the primary and secondary schools, Country Director of SAMA Foundation, Sheku Saccoh Turay, said.
A female pupil, Fatmata Sesay, Assistant Head Girl of SLMB school thanked the KLEIN Foundation for donating their such precious soccer kits and also asked for other support for the school.
President Bio Graces Police Thanksgiving Service
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, joined the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in celebrating their first annual thanksgiving service at the St. Paul II Quasi-Parish, Regent Road Grafton.
In his statement, the Inspector General of SLP, Dr Ambrose Sovula, said since the establishment of the force in 1808, that was the first time they were having a thanksgiving service as an institution and that they intended on doing so annually.
He referred to the day as historic adding that they were blessed to have had the President of the nation join them in their maiden thanksgiving service.
Minister of Internal Affairs, David Maurice Panda-Noah, in a short statement said the presence of the President was a show of support for the SLP and his commitment to supporting human capital development adding that the President was the first to appoint a female as Deputy Inspector General of Police and the first to increase their budget by 75%.
In his sermon, the clergy Reverend Father Ambrose Michael said they were gathered as people of God to give thanks to God for the many blessings adding that they should count themselves lucky to be alive as there were many others who could not see that day because they had been called by God.
He further stated that as Christians, by their baptism, they were made prophets and sent by God to do His work and to admonish all especially the SLP in order to act like the prophets God had sent to be. He ended by encouraging the congregation to pray at all times.
Addressing the congregation, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, said he was honoured to be at the thanksgiving service.
He said they should be grateful to God as His grace had kept them to see that day adding that many did not see and some saw it but with many woes.
He applauded the Inspector General of Sierra Leone Police for the initiative of bringing the SLP together for a show of gratitude to God.
He went on to state that a nation cannot function effectively without the police because their service was needed to instill law and order and that the safety of lives and property were in the hands of the police.
He said notwithstanding the challenges they faced, he would encourage them to continue doing their work diligently
Osmond Hanciles: Fellow Sierra Leoneans, if this interesting diagnosis of the plight of the common man and woman by my thoroughly intelligent and soundly educated class mate and friend at the Albert Academy( 1972/73- 1973/74) who was also Deputy Head Boy while I was Senior Prefect( 1973/74), Dr. Dennis Bright whom we fondly and respectfully called, ‘ Dennis Bright is always bright’ , is not seen and accepted as a glaring manifestation of the problems the Political Class have been causing our unfortunate and ill-treated and misused and abused people for the longest time, I wonder what else can do it.
The fact is, since my friend has himself been involved in the governing of the State as a Hon Minister of Youths and Sports in the SLPP Government (2002-2007), would he want to be so bold to distance himself from the problems he is articulating so well and so clearly when incontestable official data show that even as recent as 1989 to date poverty has been as high as over 90% plus in the country.
For killing his Uncle…
Driver Jailed 5 Yrs imprisonment
By Feima Sesay
The convict, Foday Sawaneh, was sentenced by Appeals Court Judge at the High Court of Sierra Leone, Justice Monfred Sesay, after he pleaded guilty of the crime.
Prior to his conviction, Foday Sawaneh who has been in custody for three years now since his arrest in 2019, was standing trial at the High Court for the offence of murder and pleaded not guilty.
On the 12th January 2022, State Prosecuting Counsel, Aruna Jalloh, reduced the murder charge to manslaughter in the interest of justice and for fair trial for which the convict Foday Sawaneh took responsibility of his action thereby pleading guilty for killing his uncle, Foday Ishmael Kallon, by hitting him on his head with a cutlass at their 64B Black Hall Road residence in Freetown on Sunday 29th April 2018. This occurred after the deceased tried to stop the convict from beating his wife, Iye Sawaneh, and as a result of this, argument arose which trigered a fight between the two of them and the convict. Foday Sawaneh hit his uncle on the head with a cutlass.
Due to the serious nature of the injury he sustained on his head, the deceased Foday Ishmael fell on the ground and went unconscious as he was bleeding profusely.
He was rushed to the Connaught Hospital for urgent medical attention but died while undergoing treatment there.
After stabbing the deceased, Foday Sawaneh was at large almost for a year until 2019 when he resurfaced and was apprehended by some family members who handed him over to the police and was later charged to court for murder.
During his conviction, Foday Sawaneh in his alocutus pleaded for mercy, saying he is suffering in prison due to poor facility there.
His Lawyer, Cecelia Tucker, in her plea in mitigation on behalf of the convict, begged the bench to temper justice with mercy on Foday Sawaneh who she said did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty.
Lawyer Cecelia Tucker urged the bench to take cognizance of the time Foday Sawaneh has taken in custody when handing down his sentence and also suggested a three year sentence for her client Foday Sawaneh.
Addressing the court on point of law, State Prosecutor, Aruna Jalloh, stated that for manslaughter, the law requires for a jail term not exceeding Twenty-Five years but urged the bench to give Foday Sawaneh Fifteen years jail term.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Monfred Sesay, in his verdict, sentenced Foday Sawaneh to five years imprisonment for killing his Twenty-Seven year old uncle Foday Ishmael Kallon in 2018.
According to Justice Monfred Sesay, the sentence is inclusive of the Three years Foday Sawaneh has spent on reman