ONS Urges Public to Remain Calm Amidst Social Media Protest Threats Today

The Office of National Security (ONS), under the leadership of  Abdulai Caulker, has on the 9th September, 2023 disclosed that it had been vigilant in its efforts to thwart any potential acts of lawlessness orchestrated by unidentified Sierra Leoneans, particularly those residing abroad. According to the ONS, these individuals have been using social media platforms to disseminate their grievances.

It continued that in response to recent social media posts hinting at planned protests scheduled for Monday, September 11, it has called upon citizens to continue their regular activities with the assurance that the Security Sector remains committed to safeguarding lives and property.

ONS expressed the view that the majority of Sierra Leoneans have refrained from endorsing what they view as mere propaganda propagated by unpatriotic individuals residing mainly overseas adding how those individuals have sought to create chaos within the country.

The institution pointed out that those who were misled into participating in violent protests in August 2022 have learned the harsh lesson that chaos masquerading as “peaceful protests” ultimately yields counterproductive results.

It stated that people are now more aware that the rise in commodity prices, low consumer spending, and inflation, among other economic challenges faced in Sierra Leone, are part of a global issue affecting numerous countries attributing such awareness to the availability of  the internet, smartphones and other technological advancements,  .

The ONS stated that the temporary shortages of onions and flour experienced in Sierra Leone were consequences of a poor onion harvest in India, one of the world’s largest producers, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has disrupted wheat exports.

Abdulai Caulker pointed out that attempts to place blame on the Government for these global economic issues are misguided adding that even  the former US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, recognized in his parting interview that Government should not be held responsible for the challenging economic situation, as the United States itself was grappling with inflation and its repercussions.

He said people should not use a well-known global problem as a smokescreen to advance disruptive agendas within the country furthering how the citizens of Sierra Leone understand the fragility of peace and will not allow the nation to relive the horrors of the period from 1991 to 2002.

According to the ONS, the current Government has faced significant challenges due to rising global costs, but it continues to navigate those challenges admirably affirming that despite the high cost of goods, they remain available, unlike in some other nations where store shelves sit empty.

It further stated how the Government has made considerable sacrifices to support importers and ensure a steady supply of goods saying sinister propaganda and calls for lawlessness by a select few will not resonate with the people of Sierra Leone.

Violence cannot lower prices, the ONS argued adding that in a state of anarchy, ships will avoid the nation’s ports, and investments will dwindle asking the question: In such an environment, how can a better life be achieved for the less fortunate?

It continued that Civil Society, political parties and the majority of well-meaning citizens must continue to promote peaceful coexistence stressing how ethno-regional rhetoric circulating on social media against President Julius Maada Bio’s leadership is unfounded, as evidenced by the diverse composition of his recent cabinet and public office appointments.

In a further development, during the week, Abdulai Caulker, head of the ONS, convened a meeting attended by Internal Affairs Minister, Retired Major-General David T.O. Taluva, key stakeholders in the Security Sector and representatives of the Traders Union. The purpose was to reassure all stakeholders that the nation cannot be held hostage by a few individuals and that citizens can go about their daily lives without disruption as long as they adhere to the law.

Abdulai Caulker said traders have unequivocally distanced themselves from any activities that might undermine the nation’s peace emphasizing that all State security agencies, including the police and military, have been strategically positioned to respond to any threats to the country’s peace and stability.

He urged the public to ignore social media posts from unidentified individuals and instead focus on seeking their livelihoods within a peaceful environment.


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