Written by M C Bah, Atlanta, GA-USA, former NDA Presidential Aspirant
Thursday, 31 July 2014 13:34
Our nation today mourned the passing of a giant medical crusader - Dr. Sheik Omar Khan who lost the battle he once fearlessly waged against the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. The Chief Ebola doctor passed away on July 29, 2014 at the Doctors without Border treatment center in Kailahun District. Today, we are heart broken by the sudden loss of a ‘national hero’ who captivated our imagination and inspired our moral instinct that there are still angels and prophets among us. That we can find hope in the illuminating heart of people like Dr. Khan who made our nation less dangerous against the deadliest disease in human history.
Dr. Sheik Omar Khan may not have come from Bethlehem in Palestine or Mecca in Saudi Arabia; but he left an indelible message of human compassion, a unique character of self-sacrifice and what it means to serve humanity even if it means losing your “cherished life” as he once mentioned to reporters. Even a Sierra Leonean who had never travelled to distance shores or not find his names on international headlines before and never shake hands with Kings and Presidents could save more than 100 lives by his simple God- fearing gift of an “agape love” – a redemptive action that requires no return but genuine goodwill to all.
In the midst of this deadly virus, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan taught us what we can do as Sierra Leoneans. That we can chose to only help our families, villages, towns and tribesmen and then build a bleak future for our next generation or we can confront our challenges and fears together and save many lives while transforming our communities and nation into thriving centers of economic development. Dr. Khan’s life on this earth reveals to us: we can be a blessing to others by doing extraordinary things.
That greatness is not who is the fastest runner at the Olympic games or the winners at the battlefields, but who among us that can make the sheered sacrifice to saving others from either ruthless tyranny, extreme poverty and the fight against epidemic diseases like Ebola. Dr Khan is to the fight against Ebola Virus in Sierra Leone as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the struggle against racial inequality and social injustice in America. Both men were anointed by God to take on an impossible task of changing the world and serving mankind. Both men did not pass the age of 39 years old.
As we mourned the passing of this great giant who led the war against the deadly invasion of Ebola from the Eastern frontiers of Sierra Leone; we should never forget that he did not die in vain. Dr. Khan’s life was the missile defense system that prevented the viral onslaught of the Ebola against our innocent people in Sierra Leone. Like the laser fever disease which he was also instrumental in fighting against in Kenema and Tongo; God had prepared him for bigger challenges to come. Sierra Leone could have been mercilessly overcome by the first outbreak of Ebola without the gifted hands of this fearless and courageous man.
If Dr. Khan could talk to the heath workers today who are the first responders to Ebola victims, he would say to them: my life is a lesson for you to continue the fight and we can win if we do not despair and loss faith in ourselves. And in the tragedy of diseases, our souls and characters are tested for human elevation. That pain and suffering can be redemptive and it can shake the unwanted settled behaviors to blossom to the best that good human deeds can perfect. That a world without challenges will be a place where mistakes are repeated and no lessons can be learned.
Dr. Khan’s life will be forever stenciled in our national conscience not because of how much money he may have in his bank accounts or the luxurious mansions he may have and the beautiful family he left behind; it is his distinct human courage and his act of unimaginable selflessness to lead us in our darkest days as a worried nation. He may not have been buried in a tomb or witnessed state funerals by the attendance of world leaders; but to many of us – he was our Nelson Mandela who led the crusade against a ferocious epidemic that still shivers the spine of an innocent people.
Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India who dined with people with leprosy and fed the hungry, Dr. Khan epitomized the best that Sierra Leone can be. He was the perfect soul that reminds us that our nation can be great if we show our true human character of care and compassion to one another. I can hear Dr.Khan saying to politicians today: do more to help our people. We are here on earth for a short time – open labs centers in Jui and waterloo, train more nurses to protect themselves against the virus, do more prevention and containment. We can overcome Ebola.”
Indeed, no single life has grief-stricken a nation like the passing of a man who has shown us the way to be humble citizen of our sovereign nation. In his death, he left behind a nation today that needs to practice his example of looking out for the most vulnerable among us. That by eradicating poverty and diseases, we can become a safer and more prosperous nation. But such ambitious works can be achieved through the personality and character like what he has exemplified – not greed and treacherousness, ego –centrism and contempt for ethnic diversity – but a Sierra Leone that produces more Dr. Omar Khans – who are not afraid to die in saving the lives of others.
May your soul rest in peace, Doctor and May God protect your family forever. And May God bless Sierra Leone.
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.
The 4th session of the China Africa Press Center (CAPC) Program hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) was officially launched on Wednesday 1st March 2017 in Beijing, China. This year’s event is running simultaneously with the China South Asia Center 2017 program. Both programs brought together forty-four journalists from Africa and South Asia.
The program you will give journalists the opportunity to cover major domestic and international events in China such as the upcoming Two Sessions, i.e, the 5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 5th Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (similar to Parliamentary sessions in many countries) in March, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May and the 9th BRICS Summit in Autumn this year.
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".