By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Residents of John Obey Community, Freetown Peninsular, have expressed dissatisfaction over the persistent refusal of the suspended headman, Hassan Marah, to handover community property to his successor, Aiah S. Moore, who was duly appointed by the Ministry of Local Government on January 10th,2023.
John Obey is predominantly a sand mining and fishing community and bulk of the proceeds from the sand mining is controlled by the headman of the community and the Western Rural District Council.
Hassan Marrah, who served as headman of the John Obey community for over twenty-three-year, was suspended by the Ministry of Local Government, after he failed to account for his twenty-three-year stewardship.
He was alleged to have misappropriated community funds and misused his powers throughout his tenure as headman, with his executive comprising only his family members.
Joshua Freeman, current Youth Chairman of the community, told Concord Times that Marrah’s reign was shrouded with nepotism, lack of accountability and transparency.
“Twenty-three-year under Headman-Marah, we had no freedom to express our opinion about the development of our community. All we want is for Marrah to hand over community property to Aiah Moore, who, in two months of his leadership, has brought so many developments to the community,” he said.
Community members outlined several achievements realized under the leadership of Aiah Moore, who has barely been in office for two months.
“We want Aih Moore to be pronounced as substantive headman. We want the government to upgrade his position to headman instead of the acting capacity he is currently holding. Within two months of his leadership, he has established a bank account for the community and we believe our monies are now safe. Under his leadership, the community is paying salaries of teachers who are not on government payroll and he has refurbished the community water dam which was in complete ruin before he assumed office,” they highlighted.
While rumours are making the rounds that government is working on reinstating the suspended headman, community members are protesting that, “We will not accept such move because we are tired of his leadership which he only used to serve his family and not the community. We are proud of Aih Moore’s leadership and we want him to continue as the community headman. We believe the community will move forward in terms of development,if he is given the opportunity to serve.”
Several community members narrated bitter stories about the suspended headman, who they said will deprive the community of further development.
On his part, the current headman, Aih Moore, told Concord Times that he was constrained to carry out his duties because his predecessor has refused to do proper handing over, despite intervention by the Ministry of Local Government.
Concord Times made several efforts to reach the suspended headman for his reaction, but to no avail.