The problem of Sexual exploits among Teenage Girls has become a serious phenomenon especially among school going children. The question is what we need to do as a nation and as a Government to implement or generate concrete solutions that would redeem our girl child population from becoming social and economic burdens on their families, communities and the nation at large.
The organization, Save the Children and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation National School Health and Adolescent Programme in collaboration with the National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy have stepped up a National Campaign on No Sex for Grades in Schools and higher learning institutions but the role of Teachers, Lectures and Parents remain debatable. Unfortunately as we become more and more civilized, more and more people gain expanded and unscrupulous freedom to live the way they like and this is not helping our fight against teenage sex, and this may explain why hundreds of our school girls get pregnant and drop out of school.
The Ernest Bai Koroma government incognizance of the serious consequences brought together all relevant stakeholders to join the fight against teenage pregnancy-the Health and Sanitation, Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs and Education Science and Technology Ministries and Civil Society groups to help tackle the growing problem.
The consequences for the poor teenage girls are disastrous and devastating, and except for few who may be lucky to escape, recover, and catch up, the majority of young girls are subjected to very far reacting consequences. To set the motion, massive awareness raising machinery on causes of teenage sex in schools and institutions of learning on SEX FOR GRADE is not only for people in my small town of Mateboi in the Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone, but for the collective efforts of School Administrators, the Judiciary, parents and civil society groups.
My take in the sex transaction between the young teenage girl in school and the teacher who is supposed to provide academic and moral guidance for the young in-experienced girl, is that when a male teacher who has his moral standards disrupted, and has high sex drive decides to take advantage of his very powerful position and influence over a girl who is academically weak or lazy at her school work, and yet wants to pass all her subjects in the exams, this presents a very dangerous situation for the poor girl, her parents, the school, the community and the entire Sierra Leone population. The most immediate and visible consequences for the teenage girls is pregnancy while in most cases the teacher goes scot free, the girl is left to bear the consequences. The after effect is that the girl’s education is disrupted. There are a few who recover, and catch up socially and academically and go on to achieve to their fullest potentials.
It is reported that one third of teenage pregnancies end up in abortions especially unsafe abortions which could have further impact on the health of the adolescent girl as she often lead to complications such as bleeding, sepsis, infertility and some times death.
Having sex for grades has current and future impact on the education and job opportunities for those who get engaged into it. Some girls may get lucky or smart and never get pregnant. They may continue and become very good at it until they finish primary school, secondary school and perfect it in the university. For those their ability to cope with work after finishing college could be very challenging.
A look at the phenomenon
The consequences of women who enter the workforce with big qualifications but cannot perform even the smallest of tasks ended giving their institutions names that are not credible. Therefore from which angle we look at teenage sex for grades in schools has serious consequences both for the present and the future of the girl child. There are also serious consequences for her family, the community, and the country at large.
The Teacher and the law
Turning the pendulum round, one would attempt to asks, “But what is at stake for the teacher who knowingly interferes with a young girl that he is supposed to protect and nurture to reach her fullest God-given potential. According to the New Law Titled: Sexual Offences Act 2012, no person below the age 18 years can give consent to sexual intercourse; and consent will not be accepted in a Court of Law as defense in cases of alleged offences against under age persons. Therefore teachers and lecturers in the habit of exchanging passing grades for sex from young girls should desist henceforth. As for me, the penalty of Le.10 million or one year jail term on conviction as prescribed in the New Act is just not too enough. I suggest Le.50 million or five years jail. And after serving the jail term or fine paid, the teacher in question be banned from teaching for professional misconduct.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.
In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.
Press freedom has come under severe attack in West Africa as security agencies, particularly the police, appear to be on rampage against journalists and media workers. In a space of 38 days (January 5-February 12, 2017), 30 media workers have been arrested, detained and/or assaulted by security forces, prompting fears that the gains that have been made in recent years on press freedom and freedom of expression could be eroded.
The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.
In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.
A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN
The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.
A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.
The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.
(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)
Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.
Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest. Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.
The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Thursday 20th April 2017 unanimously voted for the deferment of debate on the Bill entitled “The Finance Act 2017”, pending a pre-legislative briefing and that it should be piloted by the substantive Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House who moved the motion explained the importance of the Finance Bill that it provides for the sources of revenue for Government in respect of taxation. She furthered that the pre-legislative hearing will clearly explain the reductions, additions, and significant changes that have been included in the Finance Act of 2017 to Members of Parliament, who will better articulate issues connected thereto during the course of the debate.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, SBB Dumbuya said that “judging from the significance of the Bill, it should be preceded by a pre-legislative briefing” as per the dictates of parliamentary practices and procedures.
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles and other staff of the Freetown Office have paid an on the spot visit to the Legal Aid Board Office in Waterloo where they interacted with clients. There were twenty-two clients with women accounting for the majority.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles spoke to some of the clients about their complaints majority of which were maintenance cases. She also touched on the quality of service provided by the staff. She assured that they will received the same quality of service asclients in the Freetown Office and other parts of the country where the scheme has got an office. ‘You have to be patient with us because we do have enough staff to service you all at the same time but we will continue to do our best with the resources at our disposal,’ she assured them.
The Defence Counsel, Lawyer Tholley and Paralegals Arnold Dixon and GibrilJallohbriefed the Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and team on the volume of cases received per day. Ms. Carlton-Hanciles assured that steps are being taken to improve the office with furniture, computers, fan and air conditioners. ‘There is need to improve the working environment for you and our clients as the numbers accessing the scheme continue to increase,’ she said.
PRESS RELEASE: Rural Renewable Energy Project Conducts Installation Training
FREETOWN, 19 April 2017: UNOPS Sierra Leone is hosting a training for selected installation companies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, the President’s Recovery Priorities (PRP) programme and United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID – also known as ‘UK Aid’).
The theoretical aspect of the training runs from 18th to 20thApril at the Golden Tulip Hotel, followed by 14 days of on-the-job sessionsin Petifu and Conakry Dee communities, in Port Loko District.ASACO, the supplier of the solar equipment, is providing the training facilitators and installation tools.
Participants are mainly Sierra Leonean engineers from Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association (BWSEA),Frontier Business Solutions (FBS) and APTECH Africa Limited. Training contents include, photovoltaic (PV) system basics, types of solar systems, arrays and connections, project safety and guidance on using the installation checklists.
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate", en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes after the aircraft landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".