By Alvin Lansana Kargbo
Today, Wednesday 17th January, 2024, the adjourned trial of the former President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma will resume at the Magistrate Court on Pademba Road to be presided over by Magistrate Santigie Bangura. The Ex-President is standing trial on four count charges including treason, misprision of treason and two counts of harbouring all in the name of his alleged role in a failed military attempt to topple the Government headed by President Julius Maada Bio on November 26, 2023.
In anticipation of the trial, on Tuesday 16th January, 2024 Social Media was awash with videos and statements making the rounds of unsubstantiated claims that there will be a planned protest to be mounted to register indignation as to how the former Head of State is being treated.
This alleged Social Media hyped planned protest comes amid news that is in public domain that the Court is to determine an ECOWAS appeal for the Ex-President to be relocated to Nigeria on medical grounds, a development that is yet to be seen materialize contingent on the court’s decision.
During a Government Press Conference held on the 16th January 2024 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room on Tower Hill in Freetown, the Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah, took center stage to dispel rumors surrounding an imminent protest by reassuring the citizenry of their safety, well-being and urged to go about their normal business today, Wednesday 17th January, 2024.
The Minister commended the Chairman of APC Minkailu Mansaray for disassociating the APC from any illegal protest emphasizing that there will be no protest further encouraging all citizens to be peaceful and go about their normal business.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to upholding the law and ensuring the protection of its citizens.
The Minister categorically pointed out that: “If anyone stages an unapproved protest without the knowledge of the Inspector General of Police, he or she will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.”
He further explained that the security apparatus had been alerted to face individuals or groups that might pose a threat to the peace and security of the nation further urging citizens to go about their daily lives without fear, assuring all that the Government is fully capable of maintaining law and order.
In a notable show of unity, the Minister revealed that neither the All People’s Congress (APC) Party nor the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) supports the rumored protest, and both had distanced themselves from such activities.
He said such a collaborative effort between the major political parties serves as a strong message, signaling a collective commitment to maintaining peace and stability within the nation.
The Minister concluded by urging all Sierra Leoneans to trust in the democratic process and the rule of law, assuring all that the Government is working tirelessly to address national concerns.