December 14, 2018
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament have on Wednesday brought together various security personnel from across the country to address the rampant violence among youth in Sierra Leone.
Mover of the private member motion, opposition whip, Hon. Hassan Sesay, said the increase in violence among youth groups was a call for concern, hence the need for the security sector to brace up for the festive season.
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He cited a release issued by the United States Embassy in Freetown, which charged the police of being weak to effectively handle security across the country.
“Recently, there was a football match between Model Secondary School and the Sierra Leone Muslim Congress at the National Stadium which ended in a complete chaos. Also, a release was put out by American Embassy warning its citizens that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) is not capable to handle the security of the state. That is a slap on our faces and we must put corrective measures in place,” he said.
He said although the SLP reacted to the release on social media that they have the capacity to maintain security in the country, a strong signal should be sent out to address the issues.
“We are the parents of those kids and we must make the rules not the other way around. Such conduct should not be condoned as we are in the festive season,” he said.
He cited the recent ban the SLP placed on street carnivals, which, according to him was not the solution to the security issue in the country.
“Barring people from enjoying their rights is not the way to provide proper security for citizens. We know there are challenges in carrying out your duties but if stringent measures are not put in place, the security of the country will be put at stake and it will affect the peace of the country,” he noted.
Chief Whip of the Ruling Party, Hon. Dickson M. Rogers, commended his colleague for bringing up such a motion, stating that the issue was very important for the peace of the country.
“The release from the American Embassy was unfortunate. We have to do something about it. We need to come as one, dialogue and chart the way forward,” he said.
Hon. Rose Marie Bangura said violence should not be tolerated, adding that children were eager to attend Inter-secondary school competition because they wanted to engage in violence activities.
“Parents are now afraid to allow their children participate in the competition because of the high rate of violence. Collectively, we have a responsibility to carry out, and in doing that, we have to look at the budget allocated to the police. We must increase it so that they would be capacitated to address the issue of violence across the country,” she said.
On his part,Hon. Hindolo Gevao, said it was high time that principals and proprietors of schools be held responsible once their pupils engage in violence activities in the streets.
However, it was resolved by all members that a committee be set up that would be led by leader of the Coalition For Change (C4C), Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, to work with the security sector and proffer recommendations within a week to address the issue.