By Amin Kef Sesay
At precisely 2:00 pm on the 24th March 2020 the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, declared, via television and radio broadcast, a State of Emergency which should be in force for twelve (12) months.
According to the President, as a result of the authority vested in him under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 199, regarding the declaration of a state of public emergency, it is his opinion that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue, will lead to a State of Emergency in Sierra Leone.
He furthered that the Corona Virus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The President said the rapid global spread of the corona virus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. “This situation therefore requires effective measures to prevent, protect and curtail the spread of the corona virus diseases in Sierra Leone,” he told the nation.
He stated that as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone and having regard the threat that the corona virus disease poses to the lives of the people and the economy of Sierra Leone, and the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone, he thereby, by his Proclamation, declared that a State of Public Emergency should exist in the whole of the Republic of Sierra Leone with effect from the 24th Day of March 2020 for a period of twelve months.
The President said as he stated before he reaffirms the determination of his Government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean.
He made it abundantly clear that the declared State of Public Health Emergency is not a lockdown and nobody must use such as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices or engage in acts of lawlessness. The President underscored that the public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable.
“We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.
We believe that the actions that we take as a Government will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation,” he concluded in his address.