Windfall For Women Farmers in Bamoi Luma

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By Alusine Babah Kamara

In its mission of empowering rural women farmers with viable seeds and cash for work WELI Agrolinks has on Friday 15th April, 2022 provided a loan of 30 bags of viable ground nuts seeds to 15 rural women farmers in Bamoi Luma town, Kambia district.

The event which brings together rural women farmers, traditional rulers and cross section of WELI staff was facilitated by the child advocacy organizations in Kambia district called Pikin Na Skul Organization (PINSO).

In his welcome statement the Director and founder of Pikin Na Skul Organization Abdulia Salam Kargbo thank WELI Agrolinks CEO Mrs Asma Jalloh and team for fulfilling their promise to PINSO and the rural women farmers.

“When we (PINSO) called Madam Asma Jalloh seeking the agricultural loan for the rural women farmers on their behalf, Mrs Jalloh assured us that her company will support the women and today they have fulfilled that promise. This not just WELI Agrolinks will have the praise but Pikin Na Skul Organization also”, Kargbo says.

As I am coming to stand as guarantor for you on behalf of Pikin Na Skul Organization I want you all to please make us proud by paying back the loan, Kargbo admonished the rural women farmers.

Mrs Asma Jalloh who the Chief Executive Officer of WELI Agrolinks apologize to the women for reaching Bamoi Luma late.

She said it due to circumstances that are beyond their control.

I want you all to know that WELI Agrolinks is established mainly to help women in rural communities like Bamoi meet to their financial need through agriculture. We want women to stop being total dependents to men as that has been the root for so many difficulties women has been facing in the hands of men, Jalloh explain.

If you work with WELI Agrolinks with honesty by paying back the loan trust me next planting season we are going to add this number of benefiries and the package.

This year we are going to give you two bags of viable ground nuts seeds which one million Leones (Le1,000,000). In return you are going to pay the sum of one million two hundred thousand Leones (1,200,000) which includes the 20% interest, Jalloh stated.

Chief Pa Adikalie one of the chiefs in the township of Bamoi Luma advice the women to pay back the loan as he said that will make WELI Agrolinks to continue working with rural women in Bamoi Luma.

Ya Abiebatu Kamara is one of the benefiries, she thank WELI Agrolinks especially Mrs Asma Jalloh for the support and assure her that through Pikin Na Skul Organization they will pay the loan.

The loan is given to the rural women farmers for a period of six months.

Breastfeeding mothers…

Sorry Heart Organization engages community women

By Alhaji Turay

The America Academy of pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfeeding for about the first six months with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary food for one year or longer.

According to health professionals recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months with a gradual introduction of appropriate foods in the second six months and ongoing breastfeeding for two years or beyond.

The Federation of Community Health Workers (FCHW) taught and fit that in Sierra Leone lactating mothers should breastfeeding their child for six months to one year like others Africa countries are doing to their children’s so that the child will be strong and looking good.

During a meeting held at the Red Cross Clinic, in Freetown.

The organization is mainly focus and cares for lactating mothers who are living in deprived communities across Freetown. 

This organization target 3 slums communities, Susan’s Bay, Connaught and kroobay community, with an highly  sensitization about  lactating mothers who are living in those deprived communities to breastfeed their child’s from zero to six months and continuous breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary food for one year or longer.

Madam Agnes Lebby, the Chief Executive officer (CEO) and a medical practitioners who is based at the united kingdom, in an exclusive interview, express her gratitude to the nurses and lactating mothers that they should always take the from the nurses.

The CEO added that following the advises of the nurses will help children’s to grow fast and good looking by breastfeeding them for six months to one years and always take the child for marklate.

Madam Lebby continued that, through her little money she is getting at the diaspora she decided to bring this initiative to the women in Sierra Leone by giving them his own little financial support, by providing them baby wiper and starting fees to support their child.

She stressed that mothers should consider to breastfeed their child and thanked all the lactating mothers who attended the sensitization meeting.

The National coordinator Awalu F Kamara, disclosed that they will be visiting and monitored them to check on effectiveness of breastfeeding process.

Mr Kamara explained that he believe that the CEO will bring more support for lactating mothers whilst the organization is still calling on government and others NGOs to join them.

PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICLES

Professor Magbailay Fyle Vs Ernest Bai Koroma = Dominion

By Ibrahim Labor-Fofana

What this sad episode depicts about the Sierra Leone society is that we have reduced ourselves to extremely low standards; we celebrate mediocrity and have hailed what I termed the “Baffah Mentality”. I saw this coming a very long time ago. I fought with several newspapers and fifth columnists around 2009, 2010 and thereabout. Do we remember the fight between Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and Institute of Administration, Management and Technology (IAMTECH) over accreditation?

The late Professor Cecil Magbaily Fyle, of blessed memory was Executive Secretary of TEC when the issue of IAMTECH’s accreditation came up. By then IAMTECH was affiliated to St. Clemens, that shadowy college just like Dominion. With no trained and qualified lecturers (faculty), no sober curriculum and a structure only a little better than under the mango tree, the proprietors of this outfit were admitting students who did not have the minimum requirements to enter either Njala, FBC or any traditionally recognized tertiary education institutions in the country.

When Professor Fyle insisted that IAMTECH present its list of lecturers with their bio data and the curriculum for the courses they intend to or are offering, nar dae de fet begin.

Cut long story short, IAMTECH students were made to neither believe that nar wan Professor nor want leh den get degree en certificate dem, so they matched the streets of central Freetown to Ministry of Education and then State House. Finally Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone and Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone said he is taking a political decision and that TEC should accredit IAMTECH.

Professor Flye resigned and IAMTECH was accreditted and that began the officially sactioned milling of certificates and degrees in our education system. The rest is history.

So if we see Dominion is embolden to hold congregation for the conferment of degrees and certificates under the mango tree, oona nor blame dem o…we don use for celebrate mediocrity wit we baffah mentality en extremely low standards. Sometimes the decisions our politicians make could have far reaching consequences.

Fake PhD Degrees in Local Government Institutions

By Dr John Idriss Lahai

Who is Edward Alpha?  Mr (fake Dr) Edward Alpha is the current Chief Administrator Kambia District Council.

He was recruited as Development Planning Office in Koidu New Sembehun City Council (a Grade 11 position), and was transferred to Bo City Council to work in the same capacity.

In 2017 he was promoted to Acting Chief Administrator (Grade 13) Pujehun District Council — this impromptu appointment occurred when some Chief Administrators, Finance Officers and Procurement Officers were suspended (pending investigation into the 2017 corruption allegations regarding some EU funds).

In 2018. Edward Alpha was transferred to Bo City Council (in the same capacity as Acting Chief Administrator, Grade 13).

In 2019 he acquired a fake Master’s degree (in Business Management and Leadership from the fake London Graduate School) and a PhD degree (Doctor of Public Administration, DPA) from the fake Commonwealth University in Dubai.

In 2020 there was a general staff verification exercise and he (Edward Alpha) used these fake degrees (masters and PhD) to confer undue, albeit comparative advantage over other applicants. He was retained as a substantive staff while others (who were Deputy Chief Administrators but were also acting as Chief Administrators) were relegated to the positions of Deputy Chief Administrators. Edward Alpha was the only one who was not relegated because of his (fake) masters and PhD.

I remain,

DrJohn Idriss Lahai

Responding to YUSUF KEKETOMA SANDI, Esq (Presidential Spokesman), TUMA GENTO-KAMARA (Chairperson, NRA), & BRIMA BALUWA KOROMA (Executive Chairman of PRA), MR IBRAHIM SORIE KAMARA (Commissioner Domestic Tax Department), and MR EDWARD ALPHA (Chief Administrator, Kambia City Council)

From: Dr John Idriss Lahai

1.  To Yusuf Keketoma Sandi, Esq (Presidential Spokesman)

I am not sure if Mrs Tuma Gento-Kamara informed the presidency that it was the NRA that paid (from taxpayers’ money) the US$5000 for the fake honorary doctorate that was given to her. I am also not sure if the NRA Senior Management Team (SMT) informed the presidency that a delegation of NRA officials was in Dubai to witness the conferral of the fake PhD (honoris causa) on Mrs Tuma Gento-Kamara, their Board Chair – with air tickets and per diem all paid for by the NRA (using taxpayers’ money; our country’s money). Your focus should be on getting answers from Mrs Tuma Gento-Kamara and the NRA-SMT regarding what I have alleged; Or are you aware of these happenings but choose to ignore them and redirect your so-long-a-response to me? Allow me to shock you: What was wasted during this trip (including the money that was spent to buy this degree) was enough to feed 10 households (of four family members) for a whole year (using the 2019 price index for Le500,000 household income per month)?

2.   To the PR handlers of Mrs Tuma Gento-Kamara (Chairperson, National Revenue Authority), Mr Brima Baluwa Koroma (Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, PRA), and Mr Ibrahim Sorie Kamara (Commissioner Domestic Tax Department), Mr Edward Alpha (Chief Administrator, Kambia City Council).

Let me say this, again: In the first instance, the honoris causa PhD degrees that Tuma, Baluwa, Ibrahim Sorie and others have are all fakes. Hence, they have no right to call themselves “Dr.” It is an insu!t to the people of Sierra Leone for these government officials to use you (PR handlers) to defend them while freeing time for them to continue to believe (with a heightening sense of pomposity in their airconditioned offices) that honoris causa (for the sake of honour) is a genuine PhD. They are not PhD degrees, and that remains the main reason they paid a huge amount of money (with Tuma using state funds) to buy these fake degrees. This, among other pertinent reasons, remains the central message of my argument. Secondly, honoris causa degrees, in most cases, are awarded by universities within the awardee’s country of citizenship. For example, since Tuma, Bawula, Ibrahim Sorie, and Edward are Sierra Leoneans, the awarding institutions should have been any of our universities in Sierra Leone—say, for instance, Njala or FBC. The awards should be in recognition of some developmental achievements (of relevance to education) by the recipient. Foreign universities are not blind. They are aware of the fact that awarding such degrees comes with international relations implications. In their statements when conferring the honoris causa awards to foreign dignitaries (mostly to kings/queens, statesmen/women, presidents, prime ministers, governors, etc), they will reiterate that the award is in recognition of the awardee’s contribution towards the development of their respective countries. Thirdly, the process of award (from nomination to award) is complex; and the awardee will never be asked to pay for the award. So if the honoris causas that were awarded (to your pay masters: Tuma, Baluwa, etc) in Dubai were legal, there was no need for these people (listed above) to buy them from the scam institutions called Commonwealth University and London Graduate School.

Advise: They should stop calling themselves “doctors” (“Dr”). They’re not doctors.

I remain,

Dr John Idriss Lahai

Vital information about Commonwealth University

By Rev. Paul Bala Samura.

The Commonwealth University also known as Dubai Leadership Summit operates in Dubai, UAE. It is run by 12 faculty, 6 of whom are Nigerians. The entire university is run as a summit which climaxes with graduation/convocation and dinner. The first summit was held in 2010 attracting leaders from Africa, Europe and Asia. The summit caters for ministers, managers, First Ladies, governors, etc. Each summit lasts for 3 days only. How to enroll:

1.Summit fee: $4,500 which covers course materials, conference bags, tea, snacks, lunch for 3 days.

2. $2,500 – concessional fee for convocation.

Summits are held at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel ( no wonder the high cost).

The most recent graduation was held on December 14-16, 2021. Here was the fee schedule:

1. Summit Participants – $5,500 ( private or sponsored participants)

2. Graduating Students – $2,500

3. Graduation Dinner – $200

4. Your own guest at graduation – $100

5.Tour of Dubai – Highly recommended – $150

6. The Boat Cruise – highly recommended- $150.

The special guest of honour in the 2021 summit was the President of St. Clements University. How many of you can remember the saga between the government of Sierra Leone and St. Clements?  This university existed before the formation of TEC, and had produced many graduates – some are holding top positions.

The 2021 Summit ran under the theme: Leadership and Management: Effectiveness for Executive Business Powers and Professionals. It covered 13 courses ( in 3 days) including – Business Plan, How to Supervise, Qualities of good leaders, Delegation, Succession Planning, Marketing Strategies, Quality Management, and Balanced Score Card.

It may interest readers to know that the “courses” are ONE paper presentation (power point). In the 2011 summit, Zachary Anger Gundu, PhD, presented a 28 power point paper (as a course) titled Managing Organizational Politics.

As you have seen, each summit closes with a dinner and graduation, that’s when degrees are awarded. Don’t ask me if the participants wrote assignments?

 Or if they took any test or exam? What is clear is that the attendees were never called students but participants. Besides those who claimed to have received honorary degrees, all other degree holders, especially academic degree Masters and doctorates should be asked to display their theses/ dissertations in their offices. If you say you have a PhD/ Ed.D/ DMin, etc, I will ask you to show me your academic paper ( Thesis/Dissertation).

With this, even if the degree holder lies about the certificate, the academic paper ( thesis/dissertation) can be used to verify it’s authencity with the issuing educational institution. There are various means to verify the authencity of one’s qualification apart from the legality of the institution. As it is today, I would suggest a special team is set to verify all certificates.

In summary, Commonwealth University may be an affiliate with the London Graduate School of Commonwealth University but carries the name Dubai Leadership Summit, meets annually for 3 days, and closes with a dinner and graduation. A summit does not award degrees, not even Certificates of Participation. Some seminars and Workshops do issue certificate of participation, not degrees (neither academic nor honorary).

Let us sanitize our educational systems by verifying our certificates. Let’s set brighter examples for our children, students and the young. If the father’s or mother’s certificate is questionable, what moral authority does he or she have to talk about studying hard?  Clean your conscience! Clean the system!! Clean your country!!!

The ‘True Sierra Leoneans’ Versus ‘The Other People’

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

Those who have encountered the research of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, must have come across the idiom: “A Freudian slip”, or the word “Parapraxis”. Basically, “A Freudian slip, or Parapraxis, is a verbal or memory mistake that is believed to be linked to the unconscious mind. These slips supposedly reveal secret thoughts and feelings that people hold”.

Now enter President Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio. Since the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) came to power in April 2018 to date, the Bios have been looking at the country through the lens of the George W. Bush-ian philosophy of “either you are for us or against us”. And true to this noticeable thinking, the First Gentleman and Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone have made public statements which have given away their secret thoughts and feelings towards Sierra Leoneans who are not members of the SLPP.

Just last Tuesday (5 April 2022), whilst meeting with village headmen at State House in Freetown, President Bio twice referred to members of the main opposition, the All People’s Congress (APC), as “the other people.” This comes few months after Madam Fatima Bio had publicly stated at a party function that, “those who are not SLPP supporters are not true Sierra Leoneans.”

Those two statements, from President Bio and his wife, do not only defeat the so-called cardinal philosophy of the SLPP’s “One Country, One People” but show the disrespect and scorn which they have for APC supporters and other Sierra Leoneans who are truly apolitical. By calling members of the main opposition party “the other people,” the Head of State is conjecturing that Sierra Leone can be one country when it is only peopled by SLPP supporters. So, “the other people” are just substandard second class citizens. That’s the inferred logic! Or should I say fallacious fallacy?

This is shockingly shocking considering the fact that in his first address to the House of Parliament on Thursday 10 May 2018, President Bio had stated in line 125 that, “In the last ten years, the building blocks of national cohesion and the feeling of belonging of all citizens have gravely crumbled….” But sadly and ironically, just four years of the SLPP rule, majority of Sierra Leoneans feel more ostracized today than they were five years ago. The “feeling of belonging” to a nation called Sierra Leone, by majority of Sierra Leoneans, has “gravely crumbled” because of the seemingly supremacist policy being implemented by the Bio-led administration.

And President Bio, who promised “to promote unity and national cohesion” during his parliamentary address on 10 May 2018, is now using divisive language to create more schisms amongst Sierra Leoneans. In his statement of 5 April 2022, he deliberately said, “the other people have lied to you to vote for colours. But even when that has happened, that colour has not made your lives or your communities better”. And as if to sadistically twist the dagger in the wound, he added that, “…we will completely refurbish Makeni Government hospital (that the other people did not bother to renovate)… What I am simply saying is that if we can do this in the Makeni area where we know how people will vote…[against the SLPP in the 2023 general elections].” Here, again, the President makes a Freudian slip! Now, I’m beginning to appreciate the seemingly hidden reason why people were killed in Makeni during the Generator Riot of July 2020. This statement might also explain why, according to the “Bombali Human Rights Committee Report-April 2021”, over a year now “the families of those that died still feel aggrieved about the… lack of accountability and justice.”  

And I will stretch the hypothesis of “the other people” who are “not true Sierra Leoneans” further. It is these same secret thoughts and feelings that the President and First Lady might have held that could have framed the Commander-in-Chief’s address of 8 May 2020 in which he called APC supporters “terrorists”! And to show how the President felt, and still feels, about “the other people”, he even engaged in a sort of “Long Bench” or “Ataya Base” chatter when he stated that, “Like terrorists elsewhere… known agents and associates of the All People’s Congress party have publicly predicted the precise date, target, and nature of the attacks….”  

But when known agents and associates of the SLPP like Austin Johnny, “Arata”, and the Resident Minister North Abu Abu threatened to unleash pogroms on members of the APC; President Bio kept mum. And he is still keeping mum on issues that have the proclivity of making the state ungovernable. His loud-sounding silence seems to be conveying the message that his administration believes that what is good for the goose should not be good for the gander. 

And what is, also, noticeably palpable about the First Family is the frightful fact that they appear to be using the same divide and rule tactic to crumble “the building blocks” of their own party. Now the JMB [Julius Maada Bio] Women’s Wing has eclipsed the SLPP National Women’s Wing; while the First Lady seems to have usurped the duties of the SLPP National Women’s Leader, the Publicity Secretary and Organizing Secretary combine. But that’s the SLPP’s cup of tea; so nothing should concern a vulture with an Afro-comb.   

As a result of categorizing Sierra Leoneans into the “true Sierra Leoneans” versus “the other people”; President Bio and his wife might be creating the same antecedents, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report says led to the eleven years civil war. These were “greed, corruption and bad governance [which] led to institutional collapse, through the weakening of the Army, the Police, the Judiciary and the Civil Service” (according to the “Bombali Human Rights Committee Report-April 2021). And the status quo appears to be a sort of déjà vu!

It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian with a Ghanaian proverb that says, “If the elders leave you a legacy of dignified language, you do not abandon it and speak childish language”. Those who are not dead to language can decipher that proverb.

WHY IS SIERRA LEONE HUNGRY?

Rev. Alfred Munda Sam Foray, BA, BSAgE, MSc

A few weeks ago, I read where His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, returned from an overseas trip with an agreement to purchase three million tons of rice over the next three years from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This seems to have been a well-calculated transaction.  Sierra Leoneans consume about two million (2,000,000) tons of rice a year. We grow about 1 million tons domestically per year. So the 1 million tons per year we are buying from Vietnam should close the gap between what we eat and what we grow. But the question is, why are we buying rice from Vietnam, in the first place? Why are we spending about US$250 million of our scarce national reserve on importing rice at all?

About five years ago I was invited as a guest speaker and panelist on food and hunger held by the Department of Agriculture at my Alma Mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the de facto parent institution of Njala University. During the Question and Answer period at the end of my presentation, a gentleman in the audience asked me a pointed question, why are you (Sierra Leone) hungry?  Recognizing him as one of the visiting professors providing academic and financial support to Njala University, I was lost for an answer. A rather juvenile answer would have been because we don’t have enough food. This, of course, would beg the question, why don’t you have enough food? The answer would be because we don’t grow enough food. The logical follow-up question then would be, why don’t you grow enough food?

Sierra Leone is blessed with about 13 million acres, of farmland. That is approximately two acres for every man, woman, or child in the country. We are located on the Atlantic west coast of Africa about 10 degrees north of the equator with almost 200 miles of tropical coastline stretching from the northeast border with Guinea to the southwest border with Liberia. We have seven large rivers from the Great Scarcies separating us from Guinea to the Mano River separating us from Liberia. In between are the Little Scarcies, the Rokel, the Jong, the Sewa, and the Moa Rivers. These are interwoven with smaller rivers like the Tabe, the Taia, the Waje and others. Half of our population is between 15 and 50 years of age. We are not in the Sahel Region of Africa. We have no real experience with natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, monsoons, or tornados prevalent in other parts of the world. But we do have gold, diamonds, bauxite, titanium, iron ore, and 80 inches of tropical rainfall a year. In short, we are God’s Favourite Country (GFC-SL). Yet according to the Global Hunger Index, Sierra Leone ranks as the tenth hungriest nation in the world. So why is Sierra Leone hungry?  Reasons range from the eleven-year civil war that ended 20 years ago, to the two-year Ebola Virus Disease that ended six years ago, to the three-year-old COVID-19, and now the war in Ukraine. There is, or should be a popular song called, “Oh Salone.” Who said that it was easy being God’s Favourite Country?

If it appears to some partisans as a swipe at President Bio’s effort to reduce hunger in the country, I plead guilty by reason of complicity. I am a bonafide agricultural engineer trained in agricultural mechanization. I live in RoKupr, Kambia, home of the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) on the Great and Little Scarcies River axis. President Bio is not a farmer, although he does seem to have a marginal interest in farming. So perhaps, I, more than he, should answer the question of why Sierra Leone is hungry.  The answer is that there is no reason.

The sixteenth American President, Abraham Lincoln from my former home state of Illinois, once said that he or she who has the willingness to help has the right to criticize. Since my retirement from building tractors, cars, and car parts in the United States seven years ago, I have been a commercial farmer, from Bo District to Tonkolili District and now in Kambia District. So let me borrow from another great American president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “Let the word go forth from this time and place” to His Excellency, Retd. Brigadier Dr. Julius Maada Wonie Bio, that the people of the Scarcies River Basin alone, that is, Kambia, Karene, and Port Loko Districts, can provide us with two million tons of rice a year without prejudice to our friends in Vietnam. The one-time cost for this proposal is one hundred million dollars (the US $100,000,000). This will be used as follows: fifty thousand (50,000) tons of seed rice; one thousand (1,000) tractors not less than 70 horsepower each, with attachments, one hundred (100) combine harvesters, fertilizer, and other inputs. We will need a team of researchers and staff from SLARI and some men and women from the Eleventh Infantry Battalion in Kambia backed by law enforcement officers to secure state property. With those, and our Paramount Chief Representatives in the Region as moral guarantors, we can employ at least one thousand (1,000) youths to make Sierra Leone self-sufficient in food in less than three years without depleting our foreign currency reserves. Sir, Yes, Sir!

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