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Lantern Night: Parade or Pandemonium in Sierra Leone

Lantern Night: Parade or Pandemonium in Sierra Leone

The Independence eve lantern parade was more of a commotion and a boom time for thieves who capitalized on the hullabaloo to wreak havoc on people, leaving many in tears. The occasion was characterized by boozing, diamba smoking, fighting, looting and other forms of lawless activities that rendered the entire occasion unpleasant.

Hundreds of apparently drugged youths poured out on the streets causing trouble here and there. Decent citizens had no alternative but to abandon the celebration and return home, leaving it to the rampaging youths. On that night, I was very unfortunate to enter Freetown from the provinces and I spent almost the whole of that night to travel from Calaba Town to PZ as the crowds barricaded the movement of almost all vehicles, bringing the city to a stand still.

While on board the bus that brought me from the provinces, I was desecrated by the immoral songs that marked the occasion. I witnessed running battles between pick pockets, phone snatchers and their victims. Freetown was plunged into total chaos. Cautious traders closed their shops for fear of being raided by the gangs of thieves that turned out that night, making the whole thing counter productive.

Every year, the lantern parade is organized to mark the eve of the country’s independence won on a silver platter. The parade aims at bringing compatriots together to rejoice their liberation from colonial bondage fifty-two years ago on 27th April, 1961. However, certain ill-motivated and criminally-minded citizens blemished this year’s parade by preventing their fellow citizens from rejoicing through their dastardly activities perpetrated that historic night.

I conclude by humbly recommending that next year, government and other concerned agencies must try to make the lantern parade more organized to guarantee the safety of peaceful citizens who turn out to jubilate.

By Joseph Milton Lebbie

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