By Problyn J. Alpha in Kono
Clerk of the Sefadu Magistrate Court in Kono, Mohamed Boyce Koroma, has averred that crime rate in the district is on the increase. He made this disclosure during a one-day district stakeholders’ analysis meeting organized by the Life After Diamonds (LAD) project, a community-driven development and sustainable livelihood diversification scheme being implemented in artisanal mining communities across Sierra Leone.
According to Mr. Koroma, rape and other sexual related offences are the most common crimes committed against underage girls, as well as adults. He assured that the Sefadu Magistrate Court will promptly dispense justice as “justice delayed is justice denied”.
Explaining the purpose of the one-day district stakeholders’ analysis meeting held at the Satta Kumba Amara Resource Centre in Koidu city, the project manager of Life After Diamonds, John Kanu, noted that the session was to introduce to stakeholders the Access to Security and Justice programme, which is going to be implemented in 10 chiefdoms in the Kono District. He said 30 community mediation mechanisms will also be established in order to increase the participation of mining communities in the justice and security services.
Mr. Kanu informed his audience that over the years his organization has been involved in agriculture, marketing and road construction, but this time they had thought it fit to embark on capacity building in order to manage the justice system in the district, as “development of any nature is never sustainable without peace”.
He thanked DFID for supporting the project with the sum of 93,500 pounds.
Meanwhile, the problems identified in Kono District by the Access to Justice and Security programme include: no political polarisation, trading and mining problems, inadequate informal justice system, and the low service delivery of organisations and institutions in the district.
Making a statement, the Chiefdom Security Coordinator in the Office of National Security, Alie Lamin, underscored the importance of the project as, according to him, “development can only be sustainable in the district when there is proper security”.
He reminded LAD of the protracted conflict between crop and livestock farmers and the need to resolve it if only the project is to be successfully implemented in all their operational areas.
In his keynote address, Senior District Officer for Kono District, Moses M. Gbatu, maintained that government is aware of the laudable work of LAD in that part of the country.
He said the work of the organization is enhancing the existing justice system in the district, thus complementing government’s development efforts in the area. He implored them to “continue with the good work”.