8 April 2013

Sierra Leone: President Koroma Assures Amnesty International, Lauds Wama

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has on Monday 8th April, 2013 assured Amnesty International for the concern raised by the international non-governmental organization regarding the implementation of the Free Health Care delivery policy, which was initiated by government in 2010.

He said government is not just going to limit the Free Health Care delivery to only the three vulnerable groups, but will also provide the basic services for the people through the help of development partners.

President Koroma made this declaration at State House while addressing an Amnesty International delegation from the secretariat in London, United Kingdom. He described non-governmental organizations as development partners and that they were coming in to compliment the efforts of government.

"NGOs, I believe, are partners in development so that their roles can be seen as complimentary", said President Koroma, adding that his government is all set to provide the basic social services for the people of Sierra Leone everywhere in the country.

On the Bumbuna riot, President Koroma said government is trying to improve on the level of professionalism displayed by police officers who have been brought to book for professional misconduct over the years.

He said the more professional the SLP becomes, the better our lives are secured and the safer the investment environment will become. He therefore called for a holistic approach towards addressing police unprofessionalism in the country.

With respect to the issues of unhealthy relations between mining companies and land owners, President Koroma recalled that when he took up office, government tried to address the problems of community relations and corporate social responsibility of mining companies.

With respect to the abolition of the death penalty, the chief executive said; "we have demonstrated that we are committed to the process".

Earlier the Director of Amnesty International Sierra Leone, Solomon Sogbandi informed President Koroma that they were in his office to keep him posted on progress made so far in the implementation of the Free Health Care, as Amnesty International was happy about the government's health policy, and commended the president for making the country an abolitionist state, even though the death penalty has not been officially abolished.

A campaigner of the West Africa Team, Bashir Ayodele Ameen said they look forward to further monitoring the Free Health Care initiative in order to ensure that the service reach the target beneficiaries, whilst calling on President Koroma to continue with the policy.

In a similar engagement, President Koroma received the Regional Coordinator of the West Africa Muslim Agency, Ayman Barakat and his delegation.

In a snap discussion with the agency's Regional Coordinator, President Koroma acknowledged the efforts of the African Muslim Agency in rendering assistance to Sierra Leone particularly in the health and educational sectors as well as other humanitarian areas, such as providing scholarships for Muslims to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca.

He praised and thanked the agency for the good work, and hoped that the relationship between Sierra Leone and the agency will continue to grow from strength to strength.

The West Africa Muslim Agency operates in over twenty-eight African countries including Sierra Leone where it has centers in Makeni, Kenema, Bo, Kossoh Town, among others.

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