January 12, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Over 100 youths in Magbeni village, Koya Chiefdom in the Port Loko District have received an 18 power-horse engine boat to be used for sand mining in the village.
Sand mining is the major economic activity in Magbeni village.
Commissioning the boat over the weekend, Aruna M.S. Conteh (aka Ambush Commander) told residents that the donation was part of his philanthropy to support the sand mining community, which is approximately 40 miles from the capital Freetown. He said the village has quality sand for building and that thousands have had access to sand being mined there but have failed to give back to the community.
“It doesn’t mean you have to be rich before you help. As a businessman myself, I am used to giving back to the community,” said Mr. Conteh. “I am not an indigene of Magbeni, but because there are more vulnerable people [here], I chose to help them.”
Conteh said the gesture from him to the village was not the first as he had provided solar lights to certain parts of the village, awarded scholarship to all 15 pupils at the secondary school in the village, provided micro credit to women and Chinese lamps to those that are yet to receive the solar lights.
When asked about the environmental danger that accompanies sand mining, he noted that “sand mining is the major economic activity of the people”, adding that prior to the commencement of mining activity in the village, the Rokel River used to burst its bank and flood the village, and that the danger had since stopped.
Harbour Master, Francis Aruna Massinga, claimed the community had had bad experience with fake investors who take sand away without coming back to pay. He said the provision of an 18 power-horse engine to the village would increase production, thus improving on the economic status of the community, adding that they would forever be grateful to Mr. Conteh for his philanthropy.
Town Chief Morlai Dumbuya noted that, “The more we sell, the more the community develops. We get Le10,000 from any truck; it is that money that we use to develop the community. We are calling on the government to construct the road leading to this village. We have very good quality sand. Our sand was used to build the American embassy,” he said with pride.
The occasion was graced by a mammoth crowd from near-by villages and attracted several stakeholders.
At the climax of the event, pupils from both the junior and primary schools applauded Mr. Conteh for his support to the village.