Former President Koroma Hosts UNSRSG

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Former President, H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has today, Thursday 31st March 2022, hosted the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSRSG) for West Africa and the Sahel, Ambassador Mahamet Saleh Annadif, at his Goderich residence in Freetown.

Accompanied by the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, the SRSG met former President Koroma along with the deputy leader of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC), Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray and the Minority Leader in Parliament, Honourable Chernor Maju Bah. They discussed several endeavours being undertaken by ECOWAS, the West African Elders Forum, the African Union and other actors relating to the reversal of democratic governance and its ramifications on the peace and stability in West Africa. Following this, former President Koroma and the UNSRSG proceeded to a closed – door meeting.

Former President, Ernest Bai Koroma had similar follow-up meetings last month with the United States Ambassador, United Kingdom High Commissioner and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone.

Barely a year from Sierra Leone’s multi-tier elections in June 2023, these follow-up consultative meetings with Sierra Leone’s international partners could not have been more timely in view of the country’s current social and political state of affairs.

58 Rioters on bail with no reported death

The Judiciary’s Communications Department wishes to inform our revered public that the 58 persons who were arrested for riotous conduct and its related offences on Monday, 28th March, 2022 during the riot which prevented commercial and private vehicles, commercial tricycles and motor bikes from plying the streets of Freetown were brought before the Magistrate’s Court No. 1 at Ross Road in the East end of Freetown.

Among those accused persons were pupils from the Sierra Leone Muslim Congress Secondary School. They were in Court yesterday, Wednesday, 30th March, 2022, arraigned before Magistrate Wilbri John. Before the Court Sessions they were taken to the Cells (holding centers prepared by the Judiciary to be used by the correctional centers and the Sierra Leone Police) at Ross Road Magistrates’ Courts. Whilst in detention, some accused persons fainted due to suffocation. Two were asthmatic, according to medical report.

When they fainted, the others started shouting which attracted public attention. They were brought out and family members started crying that their children are dead. The scene became chaotic.

Later, the Magistrate called up the case and they were all granted Bail.  Two Sureties-Mr. Ibrahim Cole, the Principal for the Junior Secondary School Section and Mr. Alhaji Mohamed Sallieu Bangura, the Principal for the Senior Secondary School Section facilitated the process to ensure that the bail conditions were fulfilled. They were all contacted and confirmed that all the pupils later recovered in sound health after going through effective treatment.

“I will authoritatively tell you that no pupil died but I can also assure you that those who fainted recovered the same day,” said Mr. Ibrahim Cole, the Principal for the Junior Secondary School Section, Sierra Leone Muslim Congress School, adding that, “I even addressed them this morning at the school assembly ground. That social media video claiming that one of our pupils died is false and untrue.”

The school authorities called on our revered public to visit them for further clarification instead of spreading false rumor that a pupil died in Court yesterday.

 Major Milestone Achieved As Planning For The Freetown Cable Car System Continues

Last week, we made significant progress in the project preparation stage of the Freetown Cable Car project through the completion of a due diligence mission by the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) team.

We had previously applied for technical support from the CFF to get the Freetown Cable Car Project ready for financing and to link it to the most suitable financing solutions.

Freetown crossed a critical milestone when it became one of fifteen shortlisted projects (out of over 60 applications of ambitious project proposals from cities around the world) approved for due diligence to make an informed decision on the Cable Catt project’s viability for CFF support.

Last week, the team from the CFF completed the due diligence mission, which consisted of a review of all relevant project documents, site visits, risk assessments and the gathering of more background and contextual information through wider stakeholder engagements that build on the Prefeasibility study that was undertaken by FCC over the past two years. Stakeholders engaged during the mission included the Mayor, councilors and staff of FCC, the Minister of Western Area Region, representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, the Ministry of Finance and from the Environment Protection Agency.

The team from the CFF due diligence mission were convinced of the strategic, economic and environmental benefits of the cable car as a mass transit solution for Freetown and we are optimistic that we stand a good chance to secure the additional support necessary to complete project preparation and get the Freetown Cable Project ready for financing.

This further project preparation work will include more detailed feasibility, environmental and social impact assessment studies of the project and will provide critical support for securing financing for the implementation of the pilot route from the CBD to Kissy Ferry Junction.

The Freetown Cable Car Project presents a real opportunity to revive the economy of the city of Freetown by creating a reliable, clean and efficient mass transit system to serve the city’s residents and businesses. This project will also address climate change through carbon emission reduction and provide significant improvements in transport safety and air quality for the residents of our city.

CUMT becomes full-fledged University, officially inaugurated as a Private University in Sierra Leone

The then Canadian College now Canadian University of Modern Technology has officially been inaugurated as a private institution of higher learning in Sierra Leone. The Inauguration ceremony which attracted different private and public officials from various ministries, departments and agencies across the country was held at the campus’ edifice in Mile 91 Tonkolili District.

Chancellor of the University, Muckson Sesay Snr expressed appreciation for what he described as a dream come true. Mr. Muckson who is arguably Sierra Leone’s youngest ever Chancellor of a university remarked that his journey to transform education had not been an easy one, adding that there were persons that doubted the process. He stated that he was appreciative of his staff at the University and the Mile 91 community and its surroundings.

Chancellor Muckson said that technology is a fundamental backbone in developing societies the world over, noting that it was on such trajectory that CUMT hoped to thrive on.

Vice Chancellor of the Canadian University of Modern Technology, Professor Allyson A. Sesay commended the establishment of the university, stating that such positives should be replicated on all other societal sectors. He said that his desire to have joined the CUMT family was facilitated in his interest to have developed passion to help Chancellor Muckson to fully succeed. The revered Prof disclosed how he had to however make a tough decision to have left the University of Sierra Leone for the Canadian University, noting that he had a passion and vision of improving standards at the Mile 91 campus.

Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Hon. Sarjoh Aziz Kamara informed the gathering that government is committed to improving standards of higher education, pointing out that the Canadian University had shown clearer commitments to have toed such positive strides. He called on staff and faculty to continue to live up to expectations and to ensure that CUMT continues to make the news for all the right reasons.

Chairman of the Tertiary Education Commission Professor Aliyageen M. Alghali stated that CUMT had come a long way and that maintaining and improving standards must now be a priority. He commended the leadership of the university and called for a robust implementation of astute programs and policies for the betterment of the institution.

Keynote Speaker, Professor Abdul Rahman Sesay who’s the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies at Njala University expressed delight on the attainment of a university status and urged the management of CUMT to continue to improve standards. He recognized the role played by Njala University in aiding CUMT to have attained a university status, noting that such relationship should be maintained for effectiveness and sustainability.

Speaker after speaker discussed the significant transformation that CUMT had showcased, stating that such were good strides that were to be followed. Similar sentiments were expressed by the university’s Registrar, Adam Goguen.

Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Jacob Sax Conteh played the role of the University Marshall and he also underscored the need to celebrate the attainment of a University and added that the leadership of the university will continue to do all it could to maintain its positive name in society.

Several dignitaries including Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications, Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swarray, who has had a long lasting relationship with Chancellor Muckson witnessed the Inauguration ceremony. Veteran Journalist and Proprietor of Media One Centre at Mammah Street, Philip Neville and several other dignitaries also graced the ceremony.

Alpha Khan gives Maada Bio first big disappointment as he fails to deliver Port Loko : APC wins the bye-elections in Koya

ALPHA KANU,  the rebel APC  member who joined the ruling SLPP Government with high-sounding promises of delivering Port Loko to the SLPP ,  has given  his first big let-down to the scavenging Paopa Government when the SLPP  failed to win the bye-elections in Koya, a clear indication that Alpha Khan’s defection will make no difference, as we predicted in an editorial.

Even though hundreds of Police flooded the area to intimidate voters and caused a voter apathy , with only 36% of registered voters turning up, and despite the show of force and the power of incumbency by the ruling party, the APC  still defeated them in the Parliamentary Bye-election at Constituency 073 in Port Loko .

According to a Summary Statement of Result, the APC  candidate Issa Oye Koroma polled 3, 936 votes while his SLPP  rival garnered 2, 711 votes.

Though the SLPP  are taking comfort from the fact that the margin of victory of the APC  is not wide, compared to what obtains in SLPP  strongholds, at least there was jubilation in the APC  camp that their party won and disappointed the expectations of detractors like Alpha Kanu who had given high hopes to the SLPP  that he would make them take the stronghold from the APC.

What was also reassuring was the SLPP Government was not able to rig the elections as they had done in previous others because U.S. Embassy officials were present live , along with observers from the EU and the parties during the counting of the votes. What this means is serial rigger Maada Bio will find it difficult to rig the elections in 2023.

What is more, with public anger rising against the SLPP Government for its failure to deliver, most Sierra Leoneans now see another 5 years of President Bio as a big curse to the nation.

Lawrence Sesay, a social media commentator , has predicted massive defeat for the unpopular SLPP in 2023. Other Sierra Leoneans are warning President Bio that with even the international community now monitoring everything , including Bye- elections , governance and even spending by the Paopa, Bio will be forced out if he tries any monkey tricks in 2023.

Yesterday’s bold strike action by commercial drivers , which crippled life in the city, and the brave action of youths to set up road blocks to stop drivers from entering the streets are all signs that frustration has grown so high, the people of Sierra Leone will be ready to challenge Maada Bio if he tries to overstay in 2023.

Better days are coming for Sierra Leone.

Marampa mines determines to create legacy at operational area

By Mento

The management of SL Mining, now Marampa Mines have expressed determination to transform the deplorable state of Marampa Chiefdom, where big mining companies including Africa Minerals Limited, London Mining and among other prominent entities have eroded the Chiefdom fertile land without creating a single legacy like school building, health center or tarred road which the indegenes and stakeholders in that part of the country should have happy about.

Explaining on activities of the Marampa Mines from the company’s Information Centre in Lunsar Town, Port Loko District, Head of Community Relations, Professor Sheku who doubled as Proprietor for the University of Lunsar and University of Lunsar Health Center told Central Base Journalists Sierra Leone (CBJSL) that he was chosen by the top management of the company to serve as Head of Community Relations so that he could mediate between residents at the mining  and management of the company for the benefit of supposed beneficiaries.

He explained that he was recommended by some stakeholders in the Chiefdom that he could be the fittest person to represent the people because he was known to be trust worthy and never condone or encourage corruption to take place in his area of command.

“Because I stand to protect the interest of the company by disallowing all forms of corrupt practices which is hindering our country’s development strides, some community stakeholders who felt agrieved over his appointment were all over the place misinforming people about operations the company”, he told journalists and described allegation that the company is not employing youths that hailed in Marampa Chiefdom as baseless, adding that majority of employees were recruited within Marampa Chiefdom.

Professor Sheku further informed the media that Marampa Mines was there for all Sierra Leoneans as far as job creation was concerned, adding that the management was not in position to discriminate any qualified citizen from acquiring employment or job opportunity under the supervision of Marampa Mines.

He encouraged land owners and non land owners to continue exercising patience for the company to go through the right procedures so that their expectations in terms of receiving compensation  would be met.

In his conclusion, Professor Sheku called on all land owners in the company’s mining sites to trust and support the process for the management be in position to deliver well it’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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