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The lamentations of Jenkins-Johnson and others

The lamentations of Jenkins-Johnson and others

I empathise with my friend Blyden Jenkins-Johnston over the emotional distress caused to him by the callous and could-care-less attitude of the SLRA in the destruction of his family property along Wilkinson Road. Although it is no consolation to him or to his family, it must be said that they have not been singled out for the kind of treatment. Hundreds of others continue to suffer a similar fate. I do not fault the contractors for a moment because they have been given the go-ahead to do a job and from we know about the Chinese and their work ethic, they delve into any given assignment with characteristic zeal. We all want development and when one considers the traffic congestion along the main motor road to Congo cross and on Wilkinson road particularly during the rush hour traffic, one is thankful that quite soon there may be an end to the sufferings of commuters. But is that any excuse for the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of the SLRA and the Law Officers’ department? (Photo: Dr Sama Banya)

My understanding of such matters is that when a property is to be compulsorily acquired by government for development, there would be proper consultation between the government agency concerned and the affected citizens. It would include AN INDEPENDENT VALUATION of the property and then followed by negotiations about the quantum of compensation. In all of these matters, it has never been the practice of the SLRA or the Law Officers’ department to do that; they take all the decisions on their own. There is the poor family of late Kissi Tribal chief Nyuma Lando at Mountain Cut. The property was never in the original schedule of the hillside bypass road. Then out of the blue one day a red X was marked on it. A Lawyer for the family wrote to enquire of both the Law Officer’s department and SLRA. Up to this day tomorrow, the only acknowledgment was an offer of Le24, million to the family. Further correspondence from the family lawyer has remained unanswered; the latest is that the contractor’s bulldozer has demolished all but a single structure on the site. Is this any way to treat peaceful and law abiding especially over their legitimate property? What is it that drives our brothers and sisters in high places to assume that they are demy-gods and answerable to no one except perhaps to his Excellency? I am delighted that Jenkins-Johnston has addressed a letter of concern to the President. We hope and pray that a directive would be issued for these matters to be properly investigated, preferably by a tribunal and recommendations made to government. We need development of which good roads are a major component but official callousness is not the way.

The First Lady in Kailahun

The first lady Sia Nyama Koroma is in Kailahun this week along with the Vice President and a galaxy of ministers and paramount chiefs from all over, as well as officials from UNFPA. They are attending a workshop on the prevention of maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy and early marriage for the girl child. I am sorry that I was not present for two main reasons. It is the first time that I have been invited to a government function since we left office and the invitation was on the personal directive of the First Lady. I was also very humbled that she delivered it in person to her “Uncle Doctor” who also hails from Kailahun. Sia’s great grandfather Tologekeh was one of my grandfather Kailondo’s war heroes. Although I never saw my grandfather, I saw Tologekeh in my childhood and my late father used to be very pleased to see him whenever he visited from Mofindor village where he lived. Short and storkily built he spotted a goatee which gave him a strong resemblance to his mentor and leader Kailondo. I had also wanted to personally although not officially introduce Sia to the Kailahun family and people AS THE REAL FIRST LADY of this country and no imitation or carbon copy, let alone ‘pretender to the throne.’  Readers may recall the scandal that broke out when Lamin Vonjo Ngobeh took a young lady to the district whom he introduced as the first lady. I assured my people then that when they saw the first lady there would be no question and no mistake. That I have been told is precisely what has happened. But she will visit again when we put together a programme to traditionally unveil her great grandfather’s grave in the very near future. Her late father Abu Koroma began the project and Sia has completed it.

Look out for the activities in Segbwema of civil activist Charles Mambu.

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