By S. U. Thoronka………………………………..
The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveneaux at a press briefing yesterday noted in no uncertain terms that the Amnesty report on Sierra Leone was biased and misleading.
He said on the 27th April marking the Independence anniversary of Sierra Leone it was stated in the report that some opposition SLPP stalwarts were arrested by the government and failed to state the circumstances under which the arrest was made.
Responding to the allegation, the Deputy Minister said during Independence Day people processed through the streets of Freetown in the name of Ordelay without obtaining permit from the union.
The Minister continued that in the process members of the Ordelay engaged in a disorderly behavior and ended up vandalizing the Anti-Corruption Commission Office ACC.
He, however, denied government detaining any of the culprits over and above the constitutionally required time frame of seventy hours hours.
Mr. Ajibu Jalloh of the Information Ministry noted that Amnesty International did not do an evidence based research during their exercise. He said the hallmark of President Ernest Koroma’s presidency is the maintenance of human rights record, which he said was approved by the recent Human Rights Commission Report which according to him totally contradicts Amnesty International report. “But that notwithstanding we still remain proud of our human rights record” he concluded.
The Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr. Minkailu Bah started his defense on the issue of pregnant girls that were mentioned in the report. He said as far as he was concerned that the issue of pregnant girls had been laid to rest since 2010, adding that Cabinet agreed that the Ministry of Education should issue a directive that would bar pregnant girls taking BECE and WASCCE.
He said the number of pregnant girls that is blown out of proportion is not more than 1% adding that the schools are for children and not for women” What is not applicable in Europe should not apply in Sierra Leone”. He said government will only take responsibility for girls who have delivered and that girls are prevented from taking exams only when the pregnancy is visible.
He said about 14, 500 girls were enrolled in 310 learning centres in the country. The Amnesty International report he said is a blackmail of the government and that local as well as international NGOs are liable to accountability. He said Amnesty is doing all of these just to maintain their jobs.