Dr. Sylvia Blyden Reconciles with H.E. Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio

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By Michael J. Kanu

This writer was the first to exclusively break the news of a reconciliation meeting planned between Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR and H.E. Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio.

The meeting indeed has come to pass yesterday 14th February 2022. Accompanying this update are photos taken at the meeting which were shared yesterday on Facebook by the Office of the First Lady alongside a short, poignant caption saying: “FINALLY, TWO SISTERS MEET”.

The following was also yesterday 14th February 2022, posted by Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden on her Facebook page.

Sylvia Olayinka Blyden: Today (14/02/2022) has been an amazing day. It marks the 5th anniversary of the death of my late father Babatunde Blyden who passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2017. The family arranged to serve Awujoh food to people and locales that my Dad was close to.

So this morning, I visited the Blyden graves at Race Course Cemetery to pour water (Libation) to Daddy and to my other ancestors including my great-great-grandfather Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden, the Father of Pan-Africanism.

Then I moved to Kissy Road/Terry Street to drop off Awujoh food. Then it was time to move up to the Foulah Town mosque (which original mosque was first built for Muslims by my Blyden ancestor despite he was a Christian). At the mosque, I dropped off some Awujoh food and as always, I was most warmly welcomed by the Imams and Mosque Leaders despite the unannounced arrival of the surprise food.

Then it was the turn of Firestone Cultural Society at Mountain Cut to also receive some Awujoh food. My Dad was a lifetime Patron and so am I as well.

After serving a few other places and people, it was time for me to zoom over to Goderich to meet my beloved Baby Sister, (our First Lady Fatima Maada Bio) at her Office. This is someone whom I should have never allowed politics to separate us – Today is my very first time of seeing or speaking with her for ten years now. The photos of me and Fatima speak for themselves. The natural smiles say it all. It was a big mistake on our part to get separated over Politics. Thank God that unfortunate separation is now over.

Indeed, today was a Valentine’s Day to remember. May my lovely Daddy’s soul continue to rest in perfect peace alongside the other Blyden ancestors.

 Sierra Leone Signs Economic & Technical Cooperation Agreements with China

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David John Francis and the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E Hu Zhangliang have today signed Joint Economic and technical Cooperation agreement between China and Sierra Leone at the Ministry’s Conference room.

Professor Francis in his statement said the agreement process was initiated at the China-African Forum in Dakar, Senegal. He said the signing of the Economic and Technical Cooperation agreements with China symbolizes the cordial bilateral relationship that has existed between the two Countries and that; they will continue to cement the great win-win collaboration.

The agreement on Economic Cooperation will help reduce the costs of trade, improve the availability of goods and services, and increase consumer purchasing power in both Nations. . On technical cooperation, this will cultivate the human resources who will shoulder the burden of nation-building activities that will be primarily information and services oriented

Egyptian Delegation visit MoPED

An investment opportunity delegation from the Arab Republic of Egypt, accompanied by Sierra Leone’s newly appointed Ambassador to Egypt, Sadiq Silla visited the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) as part of their working visit in the country identifying investment prospects.

The focus of discussion centered on possible areas of cooperation in the fields of Green and renewable energy, agriculture, transportation, road construction as well as trade. MoPED’s planning and coordinating role in governance was the prime motive of the visit.

Introducing the purpose and delegation, Ambassador Sadiq Silla gave an overview of the composition of the delegation visiting Sierra Leone, citing the various MDA’s they had already interacted with.

He narrated the long standing relationship that had benefitted both countries, adding that the mission will deepen and strengthen bilateral cooperation.

In his brief statement, Osama Kamal, Head of delegation expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome, adding that they were determined and looking forward to strengthening and deepening their relationship.

In his response, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Jonathan Titus-Williams welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Ministry and expressed his delight at the visit of the delegation, noting the several investment opportunities Sierra Leone is endowed with.

He assured the delegation of the President Bio’s commitment in creating an enabling environment for foreign investors to thrive in the country, adding that he hoped the visit would expand areas cooperation between the two countries.

A presentation was done by the MoPED technical team on the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023 and the role of MoPED in coordinating planning matters in the country.

The delegation were very impressed with the MTNDP and assured the leadership of MoPED and Sierra Leone of partnership in harnessing the green energy, digital evolution and fighting climate change through appropriate technologies.

 DRUGS DEALER: BINTU FOFANAH ARRESTED IN BO

By Anthony Vandy

Drug dealing has become synonymous with many young people as a means of making ends meet or obtaining enjoyment from the dealings.

As drug trafficking has become more open in this part of the country, police officers stationed at the Fallah Checkpoint on the Bo Taiama highway intercepted a commercial vehicle with the registration number AKT 012 driven by one Emmanuel Munu of the Kebbie town section of Bo for searching on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022.

During the search, officers discovered 45 parcels of Cannabis sativa (Marijuana) in the custody of Madam Bintu Fofanah of No.7 Nyandeyama Old town section in Kenema.

During interrogation, Madam Bintu Fofanah confirmed that she bought the said commodities from Gboyake village situated inside the Tonkolili District with the purpose to convey them to Liberia.

The suspect and exhibits are being held in police custody at the Regional CID in Bo for further investigation

 Environment Minister Launches Sierra Leone National Adaptation Planning Documents 

Minister of the Environment, Prof. Foday M. Jaward has launched three key documents including Sierra Leone Climate Change Initial National Adaptation Plan, National Adaptation Framework and the Communication Strategy on National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

The launching ceremony of these three relevant documents was held at the Sierra Bay Hotel in Aberdeen, which attracted key stakeholders from the Ministry of the Environment, EPA, Parliament  Paramount Chiefs, Local District Chairmen, and other representatives from other MDAs.

Launching the documents, Prof. Foday M. Jaward said Sierra Leone is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change as a country, noting that government is taking concrete measures to adapt to these changes. He noted that adaptation to climate change has become a routine and necessary component of planning at all level and further took into cognizance the seventh session, the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where it became clear that NAP could enable all developing and least developed countries like Sierra Leone to assess their vulnerabilities, mainstream climate change risks and address adaptation.

Sequel to the above, he confirmed that government launched the NAP process in 2018, adding that key government stakeholders attended the training workshop on NAP formulation organized by UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Expert Group in Nairobi which led to NAP Framework in January 2019 and a Climate Change Communication Strategy under the NAP in 2020.

He noted that the initial NAP drives the process of creating the institutional framework for medium and long-term adaptation planning in Sierra Leone.

In retrospect, Prof. Jaward intimated that an inception workshop was held nationwide with representatives from the Government of Sierra Leone, Private Sector, Civil Society Organization engaged in the planning and decision-making, identified priorities addressed in the NAP and relevant data collected to inform the initial NAP. In line with this, he disclosed that several consultations, coupled with policy and literature reviews that informed the development of the NAP as a collective planning process. He continued that the draft NAP was shared with internal and external stakeholders for comments, inputs and feedback.

He maintained that the review process of NAP employed principles such as inclusivity, participatory, transparency, accountability, religious and culture diversity, gender equality and social inclusion that has led to the outcome of the NAP document.

He took into consideration the relevance of the NAP process, noting that it helped Sierra Leone to further identify and address key adaptation issues, gaps priorities and resource requirements for more effective planning, implementation, and adaptation monitoring in support of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the Paris Agreement as well as the last year cop26 where the NDC was well received and acclaimed as one of the best.

He noted that NAP is essential in contributing to achieving the Global Goals on adaptation by reducing vulnerability through integrating adaptation considerations into all relevant plans, policies, and strategies, and prioritizing and planning for adaptation.

 He noted that it ensured that the adaptation component of the NDC becomes a strategic and ambitious vehicle for capturing, reporting, and updating commitments and progress. He maintained that it also aligned log-term national development priorities with the SDG framework.

Finally, he confirmed that the launched of the documents are Sierra Leone’s first-ever NAP that geared toward strengthening the country’s adaptive capacity, increasing resilience, and reducing the vulnerability of people, communities and ecosystems to address the adverse effect of climate change.

South gets first Female Police commander, assured of good security

By: Newman Anthony Levey

Southern region has gotten a new police commander, Commissioner of Police Halary Sao Kanu. CP Kanu has been sent to the region as acting Police Boss South replacing AIG Edward Aiah Samadia.

CP Halary Kanu has assured the people of the south of providing proper security.

She noted that her leadership style is consultative, adding that she looks forward to working with local authorities and other stakeholders in the south.

“As for me I believe in team work. If the police do not work with community people, the work will become difficult. It is the people who knows their communities and the bad people who stay in the communities,” she noted.

She added that she will put security measures in place to respond to any disturbances. CP Halary Kanu added that the people of the south need security and that their mandate is to protect lives and properties.

CP Halary Kanu called on the people of southern region to cooperate with her as she has an open door policy.

Commissioner of Police Halary Sao Kanu joined the Sierra Leone police force in 1992. With 30 years of experienced in policing, she has worked in different areas of the country. Before she was transferred to Bo recently, CP Sao was the Local Unit Commander for Kissy Division. She spent four years as LUC at Kissy Division and she provided policing for the 2018 elections.

Many people have described the new police commander as a fine police officer but warned they would need to monitor her personnel if she is to succeed.

Enact the Gender Empowerment bill 2021 into law

Abu Bakarr Benson

CEO, Infinity Mind Foundation

Youth & Women’s Right Activist

The Gender Empowerment bill is an approved bill tabled in the Sierra Leone Parliament through the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs to be passed into law in order to boost the promotion of gender equality.

The Gender Empowerment bill contains four key provisions for implementation if enacted into law: (1) minimum 30% elective positions for women, (2) minimum 30% appointive positions for women, (3) improve and increase access to finance for women and (4) gender mainstreaming and budgeting across all sectors.

The objectives of this bill is to increase the percentage of women in elective and appointive positions, to promote gender equality, to increase economic empowerment for women. When this bill is passed into law, a minimum of 30% either gender will have a secured position in both elective and appointive positions done by the president. Take for instance we have only 12% of women representation in the parliament whiles the men are in lion numbers. So it will be fair to at least have 30% of each gender representation.

The bill covers what we call reserve seat. It is a woman only seat. In a particular district there will be reserved seats for only women candidates. Only women will contest in that particular seat. The bill will propose to look into that through PPRC, political parties, council of paramount chiefs and also civil societies who related to elections, to come up with a formula, for instance if Kailahun District have ten constituencies, how they will arrive to reserve three out of that ten for only women candidates.

This bill does not interested in what party wins but interested in women emerging as winners in those three reserved seats. These reserved seats will be rotational to different constituencies in every election.

Once this bill is passed into law, there will be monitoring mechanism to hold stakeholders accountable to ensure that this law is not only a paper document but implemented and enforced as a statute.

Therefore, we are calling on our parliamentarians to enact this bill into law and reassure our commitments to gender equality, women’s empowerment, and safeguarding women’s rights. Gender equality and empowerment is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

When we encourage more women leaders across all regions, it will help us to strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality. An integrated approach is crucial for progress and in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Our women deserve better. This is our last chance if we are to achieve gender inclusion, participation, representation and gender equality and empowerment.

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