With the official launching on Friday of the Celtel network in Koindu, the people of the area are now linked with their neighbours in Guinea and Liberia.
Speaking at the launching ceremony at the Koindu Court Barrie, the Resident Minister Eastern Province Sahr Randolph Fillie-Faboe said that Government was very grateful to Celtel for bringing their network to the people of Koindu who for long had suffered without communications.
He stated that the network would not only serve the people of Koindu which was once a prosperous commercial centre for people of the three countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but would also cover some areas in the two neighbouring countries of the Mano River Union.
The people of Koindu, he said, would also benefit from the network as development would come quickly to the area now that they can communicate with the rest of the World. He said the network will also aid reconstruction in the area which was badly devastated by the war.
The Resident Minister also thanked the inhabitants of Guinea and Liberia who came to grace the occasion reminding them that as one people (Kissi) they need to live in harmony.
He also assured them that the Celtel network is not like September rain that comes and goes but will last for a very long time. Speaking on the reliability of Celtel, he told the gathering that Celtel always keeps its word. In 2003, they came to Kono and I told them not to forget Kailahun. They kept their word and last year extended the network to Kailahun.
Today they have come to Koindu as they promised in Kailahun last year. It is indeed a great day for the people of Kissi Bendu. Now you can speak to the World,” he said. He expressed the hope that in the next three years, Koindu would have come back to its former glory before the war. In his statement, Celtel’s Marketing Director Bernard Sisay stated that by the end of this year, his company would have invested about Le300billion or $100m in Sierra Leone.
He stated that they are committed to expanding to more and more areas to cover the whole country and this has made them the leading and fastest growing network in Sierra Leone. He also promised that Buedu, the town between Kailahun and Koindu would come up before the end of the Month. “Celtel communication here now is cheaper than transportation even to Kailahun, so your problems have been reduced,” he told the people. Mr. Sisay also said that with Le210 a minute, Celtel is the cheapest and it is the only network with the cheapest top-up card of Le1,500 all to make life better for all.
He expressed thanks for the warm welcome accorded both the advance exploration staff, the technical and other staff of Celtel who have made it possible for the network to reach Koindu. He also said that Celtel was proud to be in such a lively historic place such as Koindu as they believe in bringing communication together to promote peace and development in Sierra Leone. He welcomed Koindu to the Celtel World. Welcoming the Celtel network to Koindu, Chief Okeke Jaba said they were all the same people in the area whether you lived in the Guinean or Liberian side of the border.
The Acting Paramount Chief of the area Edward K. Foyo emphasized that though they are not politicians they are grateful to Government for create the environment which has now made them to be able to talk worldwide. He thanked Celtel for coming to open up the area to the rest of the country and the world in general. “I can now be on my bed and speak to my children abroad,” he stated.
The Secretary of the Mano River Union association in the area, I.M. Kabbah earlier introduced the local dignitaries and the Guinean and Liberian delegations while Mrs. Mary kamara Chairlady of the group in expressing thanks said that it was indeed a great day for the people of the area, as they can now smile because communication has reached them at last.
She also added that they needed sincere friendship with their Guinean neighbours and not hypocritical friendship.