Ministers, MPs, Religious Leaders & Thousands Pay Last Respects to Sierra Leone’s Saudi Head of Chancery
Ibrahim Sinneh Yilla (in photo), who was until his death on 10th November 2012, the Minister Counsellor/Head of Chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia was laid to rest at his maternal shrine at 29 Kukuna Road, Kambia, Sierra Leone last Monday, 10th December 2012, after a well–attended Muslim Funeral Service at the Kambia Central Mosque.
He was 62 years old. Addressing the family and friends in the presence of Cabinet Ministers, newly elected Members of Parliament, Civil Servants and many others that gathered at the family house before the ‘Janaza’ prayer, Imams from across the country unanimously described the late man as “a very kind and caring human being who fulfilled all the pillars of Islam.”
Deputizing the Ambassador, H.E Wusu Munu and the Information Attaché expressed on behalf of the Embassy and the entire Sierra Leonean community in Saudi Arabia, heartfelt and sincere condolences to the bereaved family. The Attaché described the late man as “a seasoned administrator who was very caring for his staff.” The emotional Attaché prayed and comforted the bereaved family.
Speaker after speaker described the late man as “a true patriot, philanthropist and a man whose passion and delight for Islam was undaunted. His love for Islam, they added, spurred him to build a Mosque in his home town of Kambia .
A Brief Biography
Ibrahim Yilla was born on September 23rd 1950. He was the son of the late Pa. Sinneh Yilla and Mammy Mariama Kamara. He was a career diplomat who worked in the Sierra Leone Service for over 31 years.
Mr. Yilla had his early education at the Kolenten Secondary School, Kambia. He attained a Higher Teacher’s Certification from Milton Margai Teacher’s College, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and Political Science from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and a certification in Applied French Linguistics from the University of Montpellier in France.
His impressive academic qualification and fluency in French made it possible for him to teach in various secondary schools in Freetown as well as gaining access into the Sierra Leone Civil Service.
He joined the Civil Service in 1981. He started as a Civil Servant in the Ministry of Agriculture where he worked for nearly 18 months. Though he worked briefly at the Agriculture Ministry, he left an impact on both his area of responsibility and co-workers.
He also served as an Assistant District Officer (ADO) in the Northern town of Port Loko and was later transferred to Bo in the South and the Eastern District headquarters of Kenema in the same capacity.
Mr. Yilla’s tenure of office in almost all the most vital regions of Sierra Leone exposed him to a great deal of realities that groomed and equipped him as a veteran in the socio-political scenarios of the country.
Being a bilingual and, in addition, to his qualifications, he was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation. At the Foreign Office, he was nominated on several occasions to take part in diplomatic training courses to China, India and Egypt. He worked in almost all the divisions before he was posted as Head of Chancery to Nigeria in the early 90’s.
In Nigeria, he pursued his Master’s in Diplomacy and International Relations in Lagos University; where he also came out with flying colours. Upon completing his Master’s program, he was recalled and placed at the helm of the Sierra Leone Immigration as the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO). Mr. Yilla will be gleefully remembered for being the officer who introduced the electronic passport in Sierra Leone.
After transforming the Immigration Department, he returned to the Foreign Office where he was elevated to the position of Director of Administration and Finance and later Director of Asia and Middle East.
In 2008, Mr. Yilla was posted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as Minister Counselor/Head of Chancery to serve at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Riyadh – a position he held until his sudden demise.
Dauda Bangura, a prominent Sierra Leonean Journalist and Teacher who studied with the late man described him as “a true friend and brother who was very kind and helpful to the countless people he interacted with.”
Known by many for his humility and simplicity, he will be sorely missed not only by his family but his colleagues in the service over the years, Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and those whose lives he impacted in a very positive way.
A very loving and caring family man, he’s survived by Mrs. Jeneba Yilla; children: Mariama Yillah-Jah, Ibrahim Yilla Jnr., Abdul Rahman and Fatima Yilla and many other family members at home and abroad.
Alhaji Jalloh, Information Attaché reports from Kambia, Northern Sierra Leone
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