26 February 2019

Sierra Leone: Govt Urged to Provide Grant to Chiefdom Councils

PC Lappia Boima IV urges government to start giving grants for the operation of chiefdom councils

Paramount Chief (P.C) of Kakua Chiefdom, Bo District, Hon. Lappia Boima IV, has urged government to consider providing grants to Chiefdom Councils, so as to enable them embark on their own development projects in their various chiefdoms.

P.C Boima IV made the above call in an interview with this medium last Thursday (21st February 2019).

He noted that there is a huge gap between the local councils and that of the chiefdom councils in terms of the implementation of projects in the villages.

Currently, the local councils do receive quarterly funds from central government to implement development projects in their districts and municipalities, but P.C Boima IV said there are several chiefdoms in a particular district, which could not benefit from local council's development projects.

"If government start to give Chiefdom Councils grants, we will be able to champion our own development projects. We will embark on clearing of bushes along roads in our village, which is currently done by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), enforce laws on proper wastes management, among others," he said.

He noted that some of the roads leading to some villages in his chiefdom were so bushy to the extent that they were being rendered impassable for motorists and pedestrians.

He said some youth in those villages sometimes refused to clear the bushes along the roads on the grounds that they were not being paid by government to undertake such project.

According to him, if the Chiefdom Councils receive government grants, they would be in a position to provide monthly stipends to young men, who would be obliged to clean up the roads.

.P.C Boima IV said currently, the only source of revenue for Chiefdom Council is the sale of local tax, of which only two thousand Leones (Le2,000) remains with them, while the remaining three thousand Leones (Le3,000) goes to the local council.

"Whenever we call the chiefs to meetings from their various villages, maybe to tell them about government's agenda or the prohibition of early marriage, or to urge them to expose sexual and gender based violence and other sexual offences, we also have to pay their transport fares. And we are not empowered financially to do so," he complained.

He said for laws, policies and flagship programs to be fully implemented, village chiefs should be informed and taught on how to go about enforcing them.

"I know that the local councils have councillors in wards comprising many villages and we have chiefs and sub chiefs in every village. They are also important in the governance of the state and their traditional roles must not be underestimated," he said.

He stated that the Chiefdom Council welcomes President Bio's declaration of rape and sexual violence as a national emergency, but noted that there were people suffering in silence in villages as a result of ignorance.

"There was a time when rape and sexual violence cases were prevalent in the provinces but President Bio's declaration would certainly curb the menace," he recalled.

P.C Boima IV said he had recently engaged his colleague paramount chiefs to revamp the culture of bringing up children as a community and help nurture them well.

He urged that all communities in Sierra Leone must not leave the bringing up of children to their parents because if the child is not brought up well, it will be a loss to the parents, communities, and the country as a whole.

"In our early years, when a member of the community sees a child doing something wrong, that member would automatically take disciplinary action before even reporting the matter to the parents. But these days, if a community member does the same, the child's parent would take court action against him/her, thereby scaring them away from bringing up the child as community ones," he said.

He recalled that there was a time when community members used to pay school fees for brilliant children, who were driven out of school for fess, adding that they considered every child in their communities as theirs.

He said the repercussions of failing to bring up the child as a community is early marriages, teenage pregnancies, drop out from school, among others.

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