April 16, 2020
As part of efforts at mitigating the spread of the COVID-19, the Chairperson of the Legal Aid Board, Honorable Justice Miatta Maria Samba who also doubles as Justice of the Appeals Court has donated nine locally made hand-washing Milla Tanks to the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS).
The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service at the New England Ville in Freetown on 14 April 2020. The tank is operated by a pedal with an inbuilt soap compartment, bowl for hand wash and a bin.
In a short statement at the handing-over ceremony of the nine Milla Tanks to the SLCS, Hon. Justice Samba said she is motivated to do the donation by virtue of the fact that she is Chair of the Board which provides legal assistance to indigents who fall foul of the law and some of whom are serving as inmates in Correctional Centers around the country. She added that the Board has provided representation to thousands of poor and vulnerable people since its inception.
Justice Samba also noted that the donation is meant to support government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in the country which she underlined has resulted in the Proclamation of a State of Public Emergency by His Excellency the President. She said the Proclamation demonstrates the importance and seriousness Government attaches to the fight against the pandemic.
She added that the proclamation of the State of emergency will affect some basic rights such as movement and assembly as provided for in Sections 18 and 26 of the 1991 Constitution. She said people should appreciate this as part of sacrifices in fighting the pandemic.
She underlined the important role of Paralegals during this difficult period in explaining to ordinary people the law relating to the state of emergency and also providing legal assistance to them.
She said as part of measures also aimed at stemming the spread of the COVID-19, the Board’s paralegals in all corners of the country are also helping to explain these restrictions to ordinary people. She further noted this is crucial because the Board does not want to see a situation where people will be locked-up or put behind bars as a result of the restrictions.
She said the nine water-tanks are to be distributed as follow: one at the SLCS headquarters in Freetown and one each to the Male and Female Correctional Centers in Freetown, Makeni, Bo and Kenema. Justice Samba appreciated the prison authorities for keeping the prisons safe in the midst of the pandemic.
Receiving the tanks, the Director General of the SLCS, Mr. Joseph Lamboi described the donation as timely. He said prior to the donation, the Pademba Road Correction Center has only one small Veronica Rubber Bucket at its entrance.
Mr. Lamboi assured the Chair and the Board that the tanks will be utilized appropriately in ensuring that the correctional centers do not record any case of COVID-19 just as they did with the Ebola scourge.
Justice Samba also donated one hand-washing water-tank each to the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) and Kingharman Road Maternal and Child Health Hospital. She said as a woman she is delighted to see women in the forefront of the fight against COVID -19 in both hospitals.
The donations were climaxed with demonstrations on how to use the hand washing tanks by both the Chair and the Executive Director of the Board, Ms Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles.