“Alimu Barrie is Heartless’’ -Homeless Victims

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Head of Seidya Group Sierra Leone (SL) Limited and Pavi Forte, a construction company, Alimu Bassie has been described by homeless victims for his part in leading in the destruction of homes and disrupted schooling activities. It is a fact that the Government of President Julius Maada Bio takes education as its flagship programme in order to empower especially girls and women.

A letter that was addressed to the Citizen Advocacy Network (CAN) on the 29th September by the aggrieved parties complained that, occupants at the South Ridge Community, IMMAT, in Freetown were barricaded by members of the Operational Support Division (OSD) of the Sierra Leone Police, which in the company of others vandalized structures and rendered over seven thousand occupants homeless.

Jespy M. Thoronka, Chairperson of the aggrieved informed the Citizens’ Advocacy Network that, according to the police, they were executing a purported Court Order over which they had no prior knowledge as should be the case, because they were never taken to court to challenge their legal ownership of the land they occupied.

The occupants, who now are homeless, are expressing deepest displeasure over the illegal demolition of structures and subsequent eviction of over seven thousand (7000) legal occupants, including women and children at South Ridge Community, adjacent to the Embassy of the United States, Hill Station in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The Chairman explained that since they had occupied the said community for the past fifteen (15) years with no interference from individuals they were never invited to court to defend their legal status regarding the land they occupy.

He continued that the ‘‘police had acted in favor of Alimu Barrie, who lately laid claim over a community which had been in existence for over fifteen years now, and Barrie hoodwinked the police to believing that the said land belongs to him, albeit occupants have documents to the effect that legitimizes their ownership.’’

Currently, the chairperson lamented that women and children have no place to sleep and the schooling activity of their children has been disrupted by this single act of the police, in cohort with other state authorities who wrongfully backed Alimu Barrie as against seven hundred legal occupants.

This medium has proactively spoken to the Citizen Advocacy Network, a human rights defenders, and the institution responded that  they are soliciting the intervention of the appropriate ministries into this matter as it infringes on the fundamental human rights of citizens to own land as enshrined in the constitution of Sierra Leone.

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OSIWA Urges S/Leone & Guinea to Correct Political Ills

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Joe Pemagbi: OSIWA Country Officer

Joe Pemagbi CEO of Open society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has said in a radio interview that the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and all Citizens of West Africa Civil Society Organizations will come together as a body to reverse the change of some Africa leaders that always try to manipulate the constitution on their favor.

The CEO said within the same year he had witnessed several constitutional manipulations in some West Africa countries in the likes of Cote d’lvoire, Mali, Guinea and more.

He commended the MRU for doing a good job but that he believes that it is the citizens of some of these West Africa countries that have to put more pressure on their respective governments to support such initiatives for review.

Mr. Pemagbi also said that government has always had a key role to play in the security sector and that the democracy aspect for every country has its own electoral management body and that most of them are supervised by their internal affairs ministry and that at the end, it brings the issue of independence and impartiality and guaranty of some of state functions.

The CEO added that when the former president of the Republic of Guinea came in power, he compromised many issues and even changed the country’s constitution, adding that all of these issues did not follow the principles of democracy in West Africa.

He added that he is very happy with President Bio for his engagement with the current Guinea President, adding that it is because Sierra Leone is a neighboring country to Guinea.   

Orange SL Expands Network in SL

By Feima Sesay

In its desire for the expansion of investment, a project for the construction of a State of the Art Data Centre running into US$15M (fifteen million Dollars) has been launched by Orange in Sierra Leone’s Bo District, Southern Sierra Leone.

Orange Sierra Leone is still the leading and biggest telecoms company in Sierra Leone.

The launching which took place last week was graced by several dignitaries including the Minister of Information and Communications.

The Centre is one of the first in the country, and it came after a lot of studies have been conducted and it has offered an added unique selling proposition to orange over its competitors in the world of communication.

After the Centre would have completed, it will complement the other data centre in Freetown.

Engineer Manilius Garber, said the centre will be the company’s engine, which will enhance the capacity for ‘‘information to be transmitted from one point to another, an engine is needed.

The centre, Garber assured that it would be stuffed with access control, CCTV systems and other services.

The project, he went on, would go a long way in creating the necessary environment for Orange to continue to lead in the telecommunications industry.

In her address at the ceremony, CEO Aminata Kane Ndiaye said she had chosen the Bo District because it is strategic and safe to do business.

“I am happy that the second city is hosting a big project after the best personnel have been chosen,” she said.

In the identification process, local skills were chosen with the support of Orange International Group.

The Orange CEO also spoke about the relevance of a fast and sound internet system for information and data sharing.

“If you don’t have Internet, data is a problem,” CEO Ndiaye emphasized.

She commended government for creating a favorable business climate to connect millions of their customers.

CEO Ndiaye wished that President Julius Maada Bio will join her in the opening ceremony when the centre would have been completed.

In his appreciation of the company’s investment in his Chiefdom, Paramount Chief, Prince Lappia Boima referred to Orange as a reliable service provider throughout its years of existence in the country. And, PC Boima stayed loyal to Orange since he was a teacher.

His loyalty may not be unconnected to the company’s quality service delivery to the customers. “Through its service it renders, Orange has created an impact among the people of Sierra Leone,” the paramount chief commended the company.

Education, through mobile service, PC Boima said, Orange Sierra Leone had been making it easy. The PC called on the youth to use their smart phones well for their own benefit.

Through Orange’s zeal in the advancement of technology, the paramount chief is quite hopeful and confident that Orange would soon reach 5G as it is now 4G+.

Orange is also commended by the paramount chief for improving livelihood of Sierra Leoneans through creation of jobs.

“Thousands of Sierra Leoneans have been employed by the company,” PC Boima extoled.

Member of Parliament, Honorable Sama Sandy also commended Orange for a wonderful project in his constituency and said “Orange Company has no equal in its service.”

Owing to the Significance of the project, the Member of Parliament suggested that the area where the project site is situated be named Orange Drive.

He urged the company to apply to Bo district council to confirm the name of the street.

Honorable Sandy further stated that after his vulnerability assessment he conducted in 2018, he saw the need for a hospital project in his community.

He is currently working on a Le1.7 billion hospital project in which Orange is also expected to come in heavily.

Orange was the first company he turned to for assistance.

Minister of Information and Communication, Mohammed Rado Swarray said the competition to host the data centre was high, but Bo city was chosen. He described the Centre as a ‘‘form of decentralization and digitalization must spread.’’

The Minister also spoke about the renewal of Fibre Optic Cable project which has been abandoned for years by World Bank.

He made reference to several donations made by the company.

Pres. Bio Receives Queen’s Baton for 2022 Commonwealth Games  

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His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has received the 16th Official Queen’s Baton for the relay ahead of the XXII Commonwealth Games, an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth that is scheduled to be held in Birmingham, England.

The baton’s 90,000-mile, 269-day journey will travel through all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, tied together by common democratic principles, common laws, and working together to achieve world peace and stability. The baton is being taken to each destination by courier as part of plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The baton will be handed back to the Queen at the city’s opening ceremony, after an epic journey throughout nations and territories, reaching Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas.

While receiving the baton from Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, the Minister of Sport, President Julius Maada Bio showed excitement for what he called the true spirit of sportsmanship that had held the Commonwealth nations together, adding that the same spirit should continue.

“I hope that this spirit will continue for peace and development and for greener pastures. Thank you,” he concluded.

The British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Lisa Chesney MBE, said she was honoured to have witnessed the occasion ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games that would increase true solidarity and core values of the Commonwealth nations. She added that Sierra Leone was the 3rd African nation to receive the baton, after the Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Gambia.

“The best thing for the Commonwealth is by coming together and I think it is a part of the game and it will connect communities,” she disclosed.

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