The Executive Director of Community Advocacy and Development Movement (CADEM) Leslie Mboka has expressed worries over the deplorable conditions of Indigenes in the Rutile area, Southern Province Sierra Leone.
Addressing Journalists at his office in Aberdeen, he said that mining activities carried out by Sierra Rutile company is frustrating the people of Rutile.
He added that last month he held a peoples forum which attracted 200 participants from 13 Chiefdoms in Rutile to voice out the problems facing them and at the end they came up with thirteen points in a communiqué.
The Executive Director noted that the concerns raised are: relocated communities are disgruntled with inadequate provisions of relocation-like drinking water; financial inability of the communities to sponsor the education of their dependents; refusal of qualified indigenes of jobs in the company; flooding of communities and farms adjacent to mined-out dams; poor health facilities, and even the absence of any in some communities and lack of local markets.
Mr Mboka reiterated that the frequent incidents of drowning in dams left by mining is a cause for concern as people die every year from drowning; ridiculous amount of money paid in surface rents for mined out areas; overall poor livelihood of communities – general morale of people low in spite of the very highly expensive mineral-Rutile mined in the chiefdom.
He averred that he is not against Sierra Rutile mining but the type of mining that is going on is not good for the community and the country.
The Executive Director maintained that apparently 300,000 acres of land which should have been used for farming has been submerged by lakes.
He opined that Sierra Rutile dredges between 70 to 80 feet close to sea level which is against the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (EISA).
In his response to phone calls placed to the Community Affairs Manager Dauda Kamara to get his company’s side, he categorically stated “I’m not ready to talk to the press”.
By Abibatu Kamara