By Lansana Fofanah…………………………
Residents of Tombo, Madina, Fakai and Boyoh have heavily criticized the quarry mining activities of Gento Group in their communities. This came as a result of explosive sound coming from the quarry mining which is located in the heart of hese villages.
Mohamed Conteh, the Program Coordinator for Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) in the Western Area Rural district said that Gento Group have not been living up to their corporate social responsibilities they promised the communities, and that the heavy explosive sounds have caused many people to have pressure.
Mr. Conteh said that Gento Group promised to be supplying milk to the community people to help them cure the dust that emanates from the mining. But according to him nothing of the sort has ever been provided.
The Councilor for Ward 338, Abdul R. Jalloh and Vice Principal of Tombo Secondary School said that the blasting sound always frightens children during school hours and there has been series of complaint from the communities that people get fainted.
“I have made several telephone calls and text messages to Mohamed Gento Kamara but to no avail. We have people that have been identified with heart attacks but I learnt that Gento has now provided vehicle to take those people far whenever they want to blast,” he said.
Abdul Karim Mans Kanu, the Youth Leader of Tombo said that the only source of water for these communities come from the hills where the mining takes place, and that water has been polluted by the mining activities.
Mr. Kanu said that stakeholders are only considering the short term financial benefit while exposing the health of the people.
“Seventeen-year-old Jeneba Smart of Tombo Secondary School has developed heart attack due to this blast…People’s houses vibrate every time the blast occurs, the jobs they promised youth have not been fulfilled” he said.
Pastor Johnny Paul Koroma of East Hampstead Baptist Church said that his church which is close to the quarry site is on the brink of collapsing due to the blasting and nothing has been done by Gento Group.
John S. Kamara, the Senior Headman of the four towns said that Gento started paying the sum of one hundred thousand Leones to the authorities each time they blast. But that stopped ever since in 2014. “The said amount is not only meant for the community but also the Police and soldiers. Even the water well he promised us a year ago has not been dug, “he said.
Mr. Kamara said that like any other company whose tenure is subject to renewal, Gento did not sign any Memorandum of Understanding with the communities, and they were blamed by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) who visited the area some time ago.
Sulaiman B. Kamara, the Headman of Boyoh Village said that people are apportioning blame on Gento for developing Boyoh Village while leaving other communities.
Mr. Kamara said that Gento operates more in Boyoh community; therefore, Tombo should be developed by companies like Two Brothers Fishing Company, Bellamy Foundation, and Korea Group.
Mr. Kamara said that Gento has provided generators to the communities, and the water project suffers setback due to rocks.
The Proprietor of REC Primary School, Boyoh Village, Mrs. Mariatu S. Bangura said that the allegations against Gento Group were not true as her school benefitted forty two million Leones and bundles of zinc from the group which has helped transformed the school to a better place of learning.
Reaching at the operational site of Gento, the Chief Engineer Mbalu Teen who was not at the site was contacted on phone..
She declined talking or granting interview to this medium and referred any interview to be done through Mohamed Gento Kamara who was not available during press time.