Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2021:
Last Friday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio presented a cheque of Le10 million to each of the 88 fire victims, tollaling Le880 million, and provided other support to three households affected by the disaster of 5th March 2021 that gutted the Belgium Market in the central business district of Freetown.
Madam Zainab Bangura, one of the beneficiaries and the Women’s Leader of the Belgium Sellers’ Association representing a large community of businessmen and women in the central business district, thanked President Bio and his gesture. She said they would forever be grateful to a man who helped them during difficult times.
While presenting the cheques, food and non-food items to the beneficiaries, President Julius Maada Bio said: “I know you suffered during the fire incident. That is why I am here in person to try to compensate for your loss. We are a caring government, and we love our people. The 88 individual businesses and three households identified will benefit from this gesture,” he noted.
What is truly remarkable is the president’s reckless attitude towards the wearing of mask which many believe typifies his three years in office.
After his address and presentation, the President encouraged his audience to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination, so that the country can beat the Coronavirus, but could not tell them about the importance of complying with the government’s Covid regulation that makes the wearing of masks in public places mandatory. He too did not wear mask.
President Bio himself was in clear breach of his own government’s Covid rules that he tells the people of Sierra Leone to comply with.
Such poor showing of leadership, lawlessness and recklessness is why many are now questioning whether president Bio is fit for office.
Director-General of the National Disaster Management Agency, Lt. General (Rtd.) Brima Bureh Sesay, said the separation of the agency from the Office of National Security (ONS) was to have a body that would effectively and efficiently advise on issues relating to disaster mitigation and to minimise incidences across the country. He added that it is a manifesto fulfillment of the New Direction government to ensure that citizens living in disaster-prone areas are properly taken care of in times of disaster.
“From November 2020, the National Disaster Management Agency has supported 774 homes, 17 schools, churches and mosques and 12,448 people throughout the country. This shows that President Julius Maada Bio is a listening leader who cares for the well-being of his people,” he noted.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Edward Hinga Sandi, said the fire incident at the Belgium Market community is a blessing in disguise because it drew the attention of the central government to how pushful and focused those businessmen and women are, adding that apart from President Bio’s goodwill gesture and commiseration, they will now benefit from the next set of the government Munafa Microcredit facility.
“My ministry will create a special opportunity to ensure that the Belgium Market gets a direct link with suppliers. I think it will add more value to your businesses,” he assured.