By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Femi Claudius-Claudius, Leader of the Unity Party (UP) had stated that the August 8th, 9th and 10th report which was released on Thursday 13th of April is one-sided that is full of falsehood and wild claims with no evidence.
She said as a party, they categorically reject the Special Investigation Committee Report (SCI), claiming that the report is littered with unsubstantiated accusations, half-truths, falsehood and little or no evidence for its wild claims.
What happened? On the 10th of August 2022, protests arose from various parts of Sierra Leone. The protest began with a sit-at-home on the 8th and the 9th and then on the 10th of August angry protesters took to the streets of various towns in the northern region and the East end of Freetown.
The protest ended up into violence crash between the police and the civilians, thereby disturbing the peace and stability of the state and subsequently causing death of number of civilians as well as police officers.
Following the ugly development, President Bio thereafter appointed a Special Investigation Committee (SIC) on 24th August 2022, to investigate the incidents.
Why did Claudius-Cole say the report is false? In a press conference, the Unity Party (UP) held on April 19, at the party’s head office on 4 Pandemba Road in Freetown, leader and chairperson of the party said one of the points to expose the high-level of inaccuracies is a doctored tweet included in the report. She said the fake tweet which appeared under Annex J (page 63) was debunked by her but the Committee went ahead to include the tweet without fact-checking it.
Another evidence of the half-truths and that SCI was a mission to deliberately target some members of the critical opposition is the inclusion of Annex -E with the title “Excerpts of the transcript of Councilor Sheku Turay alias Ice Tee’s video ahead of the August 10tt demonstration”.
Madam Claudius-Cole said the Committee crucially omitted the date and circumstances under which the circumstances were made.
“The statement by Councilor Turay was made a year earlier and in reference to a totally unrelated budgetary issue”.
The Unity Party leader also note that claims of ‘insurrection’ that was planned and financed with the goal of ousting the democratically elected government was baseless and unfounded.
The party further states that the refusal of one of the protagonist, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Lawrence Leema to honor the invitation of the committee, undermines the credibility of the report itself.
“Unity Party wishes to point out that the investigation, in our views, fail to meet the basic threshold of an impartial investigation expected from a state sanctioned institution. This is evidenced by the fact that the committee failed to engage those who were arrested or the family members of those killed in their homes as well as those who endure indiscriminate arrest at the hand of the Sierra Leone Police- certainly, a missed opportunity to understand their grievances as well as why they protested and how lives were lost,”.