Paramount Chiefs condemn witch hunting of African Minerals
The inaccurate and unfortunate criticisms levied by some Civil Society Groups on African Minerals has not gone down well with some traditional authorities, who served as clear testimony to effective and efficient work done by the mining company. (Photo: PC Musa Bendugu Jalloh and his people)
The Acting Paramount Chief of Samaia Bendugu Chiefdom, PC Musa Bendugu Jalloh is not a happy man. The cause for his unhappiness is not unconnected to false information going around about the operation of African Minerals in his chiefdom. He inform this reporter recently in an exclusive interview that those criticizing the mining company should be seen as saboteurs and great enemies that do not want to see the development of his chiefdom and the country as a whole. “Their criticisms do not reflect things that are happening on the group. I have never seen or heard of such groups coming to ask me or my people about the functions of African Minerals,” he said, and added that his entire chiefdom is well satisfied with the existing relationship with African Minerals.
The Acting Paramount Chief pointed out the fact that the company provided lots of support for his chiefdom during exploration. Some of this support included the construction of a bridge, a decent school building, scholarship support on a yearly basis, a tractor for farmers, support for funeral and other burial arrangements etc.
He said one of the greatest supports that he and his people will never forget was the purchase of return air tickets to the USA for his brother, the substantive Paramount Chief who was accompanied by a relative for medical attention. The company, he said further provided financial support to the tune of $15,000 and also upon the request of the people recently, more financial support has already been approved.
Another great support the Acting Paramount Chief stated is the employment responsibility given to him by African Minerals for his entire Chiefdom. “I am very much pleased to say African Minerals has provided employment facilities for my people. I have been monitoring those employed to see that they are well paid so that at the end of each month they do something for their poor family members,” says the P.C. Bendugu Jalloh, and pointed out that since the employment scheme started he has never collected a single cent from the beneficiaries.
He assured that when the company starts mining and exporting they are very much convinced that a great transformation will take place at chiefdom, district, and national levels.
One of the projects that has boosted youth employment is the company’s operation area of stone pitching and grass planting along the railway.
This has been commended by the Paramount Chief of Kalasongaia Chiefdom, P.C. Alimamy Bockarie Koroma. He described African Minerals’ operation as relatively satisfactory. He said whenever they face the company with some problems faced by his people; they are at liberty to make an immediate response. He commended the fact that African Minerals has not relented in keeping up to its corporate social responsibility during exploration. “They have been paying surface rent, crop compensation, provided a school bus, provided 165 scholarships support to my chiefdom, they have employed over six hundred people in my chiefdom, and they have promised to construct low-cost houses for workers that will serve under a mortgage system,” the Paramount Chief highlighted.
Chief Koroma said with African Minerals in his chiefdom, so many businesses are booming, and added that more people are showing interest to open more small and medium scale investments. “We have no problems with water supply at present. African Minerals have promised to support us with a quality healthcare facility and other infrastructure development facilities,” the Paramount Chief said.
As the company is in top gear to commence export in the forthcoming weeks, a lump sum of 0.1% from exported iron ore will be provided as chiefdom development fund. This was reechoed by African Minerals’ head of Public Relations, Anthony Navo Junior. He said the company is not only operating as a business entity but has also come to develop Sierra Leone. African Minerals, he said will soon make Sierra Leone become a paradise on earth.
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