Sierra Leone-Freetown: One of the Section chiefs including some stakeholders (name withheld)in the Devil hole community have on 14th August 2021, complained that Headmen’s (Edman) local courts have been established illegally contrary to the local government Act of 2011,in the Devil Hole community, Western rural areas of Freetown.
The Section Chief identified communities in the Devil Hole environment where these illegal courts are established such as Sima town, Fire Force area, Ansarul community, Upper Quarry Grassfield among a few.
He mentioned that in the community, there are close to eight(8) Headmen holding illegal courts, assuming the role of a Crowned Chief, such as receiving summons from community members and discouraging inhabitants not to come to them, saying this has affected their function as legal authorities.
According to the local court Act of parliament 2011, No.10, section 13(1,2a,b,c,d) “The Chief Justice may by statutory instrument establish additional courts that may be required or direct that any Court which is no longer required shall cease to exercise jurisdiction.”
As he continued to describe how this illegal establishments are currently disturbing the justice system in the Devil Hole community, few community members spoken to in the community on Saturday 14th August,2021, said most people now go to Headmen to settle their matters. This is because they have been convinced, that their matter could not be resolved, so they would ask for transfer to the section chiefs for conflict resolution.
The Chief said “this matter does not really go down well with us as Chiefs. These are some of the main issues that disturb our work as crowned Chiefs in the Devil hole community. We have approximately, ten areas in the community that operate as illegal local courts which are currently established by Headmen contrary to the local Act of 2011..”Me di Chief ar nor gladi for di sub-sub local court wae den Edman ya don mek na di Devil hole community. En di local court act of 2011,nor gee dem da right de, for do dat. Ar don complain dem plenti-plenti tem, but den still de do am”.
Responding to this establishment of the said illegal courts in the Devil hole community, Abdulai Mansaray, the Head of the Headmen in the community, disclosed that they only established a ‘PEACE BARRAY’ not a court system, to arbitrate local issues and conflict management such as marriage, malice and development matters among few. But if those matters are above them, sometimes they transfer it to the police or Chiefs in the community. AJ
By:Alimamy [email protected]