Twenty two affected village communities in the Kalansogoia, Diang and Kasunku chiefdoms in the Northern Province have received over eighty million Leones (Le80 million) as compensation from the Project Implementation Unit of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project.
With smiles on his face the Paramount Chief (PC) of Kalansogoia Chiefdom Alimamy Bockarie Y Koroma III, said that the event marks the beginning of happiness in their hearts with the realization of compensations for our sacred sites.
PC Koroma appealed to his subjects to go straight from the compensation program and perform the necessary ceremonies to satisfy the ancestors.
He cautioned them not to quarrel over the money and admonished them to use the money for its intended purpose.
The PC thanked the government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank, who are financing the environment and social components of the project, for what they referred to as their “great” efforts to respect the traditional values and customs of the people.
The Resettlement Unit Coordinator Mr Claudius J Thomas commended the patience and sacrifices demonstrated by 22 communities over the long period of eagerness for the compensations. He persuaded them to perform the necessary traditional rites – failure of which their ancestors and gods may not be pleased with them.
At Fadugu, Kasunku chiefdom similar program and sentiments were expressed under the patronage of the PC Alfred Baio Serry Kamara III and Chief Luseni Tholly who represented the Regent Chief of Diang Chiefdom. Meanwhile reports from the region say that controversy has arisen out of the sharing of the compensation money with the Paramount Chief of the Kalasongoia area allegedly demanding 20% of the compensation money for the sacred sites failing which he will not sign for the other sacred sites in other parts of his chiefdom.
This has created some anxiety because the PI Unit is expected to visit the other areas of the chiefdom, under the same compensation for sacred sites which have become submerged due to the blocking of the left tunnel leading to the start of flooding of the dam site.