It is a crying shame that the Belgian based FIAN NGO, its local agency Green Scenery and their partners that claim to be advocates for the rights of poor people should be party to demand made for the Socfin Agriculture Company based in Sahn Malen in Pujehun district to cease production of palm oil because of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Irony of the matter is that, in a country with one of the highest levels of unemployment in the world, Socfin critically contributes to putting food on the table for thousands of families through the thousands of direct and indirect jobs that the company’s plantation and mill provides for the people of Sahn Malen, Pujehun district and Sierra Leoneans in general.
What FIAN, Green Secenery and other should understand is that gainful employment, of the kind provided by Socfin is the surest way to the right to feed oneself in dignity.
As such, the right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right to which many countries are committed, and over the last decades, a number of countries have developed and implemented constitutional amendments, national laws, strategies, policies and programs that aim at the fulfillment for all of the right to food.
This is adequately expressed in the General Comment 12 (Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CESCR, 1999) as: The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.
Yet, an open letter, recently published by FIAN international, which claims to be an international human rights organization `continued to project Sierra Leone in a terrible and appalling manner to the international community.
In the letter, FIAN and their partners call on Socfin to stop the production of palm oil during the Corona Virus Pandemic completely ignoring the fact that Socfin is producing palm oil to feed Sierra Leoneans.
Despite their campaign on food security and suddenly they are complaining to the government for the agricultural company to stop producing palm oil at a time like thiswhen the government is urging and appealing to producers to help the country at this trying times and you have one self-centered and eccentric organization urging government to stop production, what can people eat if farmers stop food production? Are these people really serious? What do they take Africans like? Can FIAN please concentrate on their activism and stop the unnecessary incitement they are doing to hapless workers of Socfin Agricultural Company? These are questions that cannot be answer by FIAN workers. This writer will continued to challenge officials of FIAN to point at a single development they have done for people of Sahn-Malen Chiefdom and Sierra Leone as a whole.
On the contrary, the government specifically asked Socfin and partners to step up production so no food shortages can occur in these difficult times, which automatically makes FIAN statement absolutely ridiculous and outlandish.
Now, FIAN is asking the Agricultural Company to stop the food production but continue paying workers, how can a company that stops production pay salaries for workers to put rice on their families table? This is absolutely ridiculous for FIAN to proffer such an eccentric solution at a time when companies are down-sizing their workers, but yet still the agricultural company continued to operate fully in line with the government laydown principles. I think for any right-thinking persons they should give tap on the back to Socfin Agricultural Company for their resilient in operating fully in these trying times.
Another lie by FIAN is the loose and baseless accusation of workers being transported in crammed vehicles, now; FIAN should know that the policy in Socfin Agricultural Company is to have the village people work around their respective villages so there will be nothing like mad rushes across the chiefdom when doing the harvesting and other field work.
The fictitious letter was apparently signed by the Chairman of MALOA, when contacted by this press he denies to have any knowledge of this letter, and once wonder who they are working with. `
The mandate of FIAN according to them is to expose violations of people’s right to food wherever they may occur and also stand up against unjust and oppressive practices that prevent people from feeding themselves. Where the food shortages in Sahn-Malen Chiefdom that FIAN are talking about? Where are the unjust and oppressive practices going on in Malen-Chiefdom? The Paramount Chief of Sahn-Malen Chiefdom who is the legal custodian in the chiefdom has time without number explains to Sierra Leoneans and the world that his chiefdom is growing rapidly since the inception of the agricultural company. What else does FIAN want to hear? FIAN’s rely only on cock and bull story together with its partners.
Paramount Chief Kebbie has made it abundantly clear that the unnecessary meddling and interference by local and international Civil Society Organizations in his chiefdom since the commencement of Socfin Agricultural Company is the crux of the problem in Malen Chiefdom.
“If only these Civil Society Organizations will mind their business and concentrate on better activities in helping the country to grow it will be good for us as a nation,” he said.
“All the reports they are publishing against the chiefdom by using hapless villagers to say something wrong about the chiefdom is fictitious and false”.
The Government of President Julius Maada Bio should act wisely and not allowed FIAN Belgium and other International Organizations like Enda Pronat, GRAIN, ReAct, SOS Faim, among others to destroy Sierra Leone to genuine investors who closely monitoring the Socfin episode strongly.
FIAN Belgium continues to frustrate genuine investors that are coming to invest in the country by means of creating jobs for our jobless youths.
This writer is challenging FIAN Belgium to points at any development they have done in Sierra Leone for our people, all what they are doing is to work with local Civil Society Organizations to uncovered fictitious information about the agricultural company.
Everyone knows that the agricultural company is not 100% perfect, but portraying all sorts of gibberish against genuine investors have the propensity to scarce investors out of the country.
Sierra Leoneans are tired with the incessant land grabbing issues by FIAN and its ilk’s in their quest to solicit funding from their superiors who are doing all sorts of negative propaganda in discouraging the agricultural outfit to back-off from Sierra Leone.
Some of us know the agenda of FIAN, how many investors have you brought to Sierra Leone? Go to Sahn-Malen and see for yourself how the local economy is helping the chiefdom people in transforming their lives.
The demonstration at the ING Bank sometimes ago by FIAN and other organizations in demonstrating to the bank not to give loan to the agricultural company for an extension of the Mill in Malen Chiefdom shows the real face of the Belgian organization bent on destroying Sierra Leone to the international world.
FIAN and other ill-gotten organizations demonstrated ruthlessly to the bank not to give the loan to the company which will eventually create more jobs for Sierra Leoneans and also boosts the country economy.
FIAN should stop the campaign of calumny against genuine investors that have love for the people of Sierra Leone. Let common sense prevail. The pen is mightier that the sword.