Benguema residents threaten to burn house of village head
January 12, 2014 By Francis Ndanema
Head Woman of Benguema village in the Western Rural, Madam Ekundayo Conteh, has claimed that more than 300 people had stormed her residence threatening to set it ablaze should they fail to receive their food supply as promised by the World Food Programme (WFP).
According to some residents of the Benguema community, there houses were registered some time ago on the pretext that they were going to receive food supply from WFP, but only to later learn that their names were not on the list when it was time to deliver the food supply.
“We saw some people secretly selling coupons that were meant for us. We were later told that our names are not on the list of people to receive the food, even though we had been registered,” they claimed.
The irate residents mostly from Grassfield, Anifa Drive and Tejan Street – all in the Benguema village – also alleged that they saw some people buying the coupons and receiving more than 50 bags of rice, while more than 300 of them were completely left out.
They called on the authorities concerned to investigate what led to their names being deleted from the list, especially so when they are badly in need of food as a good number of them have been affected by the Ebola outbreak in the community.
Last week, police personnel from the Waterloo police division apprehended some “fake coupons”, two laptops, a printer and photocopier machine at the 555 main lorry park in Waterloo. Nobody has yet come forward to claim ownership of the items.
According to the police, they discovered the “fake coupons” in a ‘small shop’ around the lorry park, which led them to apprehend the laptops, printer and photocopier which they suspected may have been used to print the “fake coupons”.
The village head of Benguema, Madam Ekundayo Conteh, told Concord Times that the displeased residents – numbering over 300 – threatened to torch her house in apparent frustration over the omission of their names.
She said WFP had employed the people who went around the community to register targeted beneficiaries and later shared coupons, noting that she had no hand in deciding who should get the food supply.
Madam Conteh said she has raised the concern of the people with the Waterloo District Council, the Member of Parliament representing the area, and other authorities including WFP.
She said WFP has promised to look into the complaint.
Efforts to get the reaction of WFP proved unsuccessful as we went to press.