Monrovia, Liberia, 25th October 2021-
The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, yesterday met with hundreds of Sierra Leonean refugees at the VOA camp and assured them of the government’s willingness to intercede on their behalf to address their concerns.
Speaking with the Sierra Leoneans, the Honourable Vice President expressed his pleasure at the opportunity provided by his visit to Liberia to meet with them, noting that he was sent by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to listen to their concerns.
While thanking the President of Liberia for his support to occupants of the camps, he furthered that their concerns would attract mutually satisfactory intervention drives as Sierra Leone works collaboratively with the Government of Liberia and the eligibility committee set up for that purpose.
The Vice President also stated that his delegation included the right officials who have listened keenly to the deliberations and would help to work out solutions to address the concerns.
The Vice President went on to assure the refugee community of the Hajj scholarship and a microfinance scheme for vulnerable women while assuring his continued support to the refugee school which is seen as an extension in the fulfilment of the flagship programme of the Sierra Leone government. He called on their support for the New Direction administration, which he said was the people’s government.
Presenting the many concerns of the refugee community, the Chairman of the Sierra Leone Refugees in Liberia, Heixon J. Abdul, expressed appreciation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Liberia for their protection and support to the community since 1991.
The Chairman went on to submit on the status of the refugees, noting that an approximate population of 97,000 refugees fled from Sierra Leone to Liberia in 1991, and after the voluntary repatriation process that commenced in 1994 to 2004, a total of 3,564 people including 1,369 family heads remain in Liberia, adding that 375 people of 112 family heads were exempted from the sensational crop planting and others registered for local integration, resident permits, naturalisation while the rest were rejected.
“From 2008 to date, the entire Sierra Leone refugee community in Liberia has been grouped into four categories by the eligibility committee, including exempted refugees, refugees who were refused House Units, rejected non-refugees and the locally integrated with housing units. Exempted refugees are faced with life-threatening cases, human rights violations and limited freedom of movement. Therefore, we are pleading with the Government of Sierra Leone to profer durable solutions to these problems,” the Chairman asserted.
In another development, the Vice President on Sunday 24th October 2021 served as a Guest of Honour at a programme organized by the Fullah community representing different countries across Africa, where he expressed appreciation for the overwhelming honour bestowed on him and promised to support and promote the community in both countries.
In his remarks at both ceremonies, His Excellency Ambassador Eddie Sidikie Massally emphasised the urgency of the concerns of the refugees and entreated the Fullah community to support the Government of Sierra Leone in actualizing its manifesto agenda.
Sierra Leone’s Vice President will today attend the Young Political Leadership School (YPLS) Africa seminar, where he is to serve as the keynote speaker.
Mamawa S. Richards
Sierra Leone Embassy