11 February 2019

Sierra Leone: Confrontations in Pujehun Must Stop!

Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Sadiq Silla, has called on all to stop the confrontations and give peace a chance in order to enhance development in Pujehun District, adding that he has moved swiftly to unify the people of the district by resolving personal conflicts.

Sadiq Silla, who served as Chairman of Pujehun District Council for nine years, was speaking to Concord Times in a mobile phone interview last Friday (8th February, 2019).

On Monday, January 21, violence broke out in Sahn Malen, a chiefdom that is currently being affected by a large-scale land investment by SOCFIN Agricultural Company, which had acquired 6,500 hectares of agricultural land from the people in 2011.

The situation led to the death of two people, injuries of many people and detention of a Member of Parliament including other stakeholders of the chiefdom.

"It's unfortunate that the problems in Pujehun district, especially the one in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, are almost on all national and international media. The provision of alternative livelihood support would bring a lasting peace to the conflicts in the chiefdom. Confrontations must stop and forever," the deputy transport minister said while responding to recent violence in Malen.

He said they have called on all stakeholders to work together and also dialogue with government for the development of the district.

"We have resolved that in order to put-to-rest the conflict in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, we must review the land lease agreement, payment of surface rent, release of detainees, provision of alternative livelihood and inauguration of chiefdom level meetings," he said, and noted that the Pujehun District Descendant Association (PDDA) has been pivotal in facilitating peace and development in the district.

According to him, beside the conflicts in Malen Chiefdom, he has also been engaging stakeholders in the district to come together and alleviate poverty, as well as create an enabling environment for young men, women and children to thrive.

"I want to assure every indigene of Pujehun that betters have come with the peace we have brokered. Unity is the only way to achieving development. Differences in opinion should not serve as a yardstick to confront each other. We are one family, district and people," he said.

The deputy transport minister said he had once played a great role to eradicating the Ebola virus disease in the district, and that he would always continue to play similar role to eradicating poverty and brings everlasting joy to the people of his district.

"In order to achieve the above, we must bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, the weak and the strong, and also lobby with the government to enhance tangible development in our district," he stated.

The deputy transport minister thanked the relentless supports he has been enjoying from the Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis-Leader of Government Business in Parliament, among other stakeholders for unifying the district.

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