People were living in fear and always running away whenever the boys are each other’s throats and terrorising innocent citizens. The attitude of these boys is not just limited to the two communities but right across the country’s major cities. The past government tried to contain them but it was however difficult because they were allegedly secretly supporting the boys to carry out destructive action on their opponents. This is the route the new direction government should not follow and must instead maintain the peaceful co-existence of its citizens.
The Eastern Police Division and community stakeholders are going to be having constant engagements with the ring leaders of the various groups and will take them through respective reintegration processes until they could be identified as peace ambassadors’ in their communities.
The willingness of the boys to come and embrace peace was what the residents at a well-attended meeting at Kossoh town described as “readiness in unity “by the boys to support the peace process that many people across Freetown have been calling for. The channel used to get the boys was appropriate since most of them have shown commitment to the process genuinely without financial rewards. Most of them have called on the stakeholders to provide them with job opportunities in the various companies within the communities, to ease the idleness. It is clear manifestation that if the “clique social ambiguity “is amicably addressed at Fourah bay and its immediate environs, it will become a testament that will ripple down to other communities in the Freetown and beyond.
The act of terrorising the communities by the clique boys happens during football matches, social events, political rallies and beating up of one member of the fraternity, among others. It has been disturbing the social interaction and peaceful co-existence of people and lives have been lost, innocent citizens attacked which is not good for a country that has experienced war and unprecedented disaster.
Assuring the boys about his commitment to the process, the honourable Sheriff Carew of constituency112 issued two scholarships to members of the various clique groups to undertake vocational studies in any area of their choice and also promised to work with the others to help them secure employment.
Since then, the Call to Action has been endorsed by eight countries, including: Georgia, Ghana, México, Moldova, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Uganda. UNICEF’s Safe to Learn: #ENDviolence in Schools work will continue throughout 2019, the first full year of the campaign, driving toward our three aims and guided by both the Safe to Learn Call Action and the #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto
The peace amongst the various groups is commendable but the sustainability is what many people are questioning. The meeting was climaxed by a peace March displaying their black and red handkerchiefs up to the Malta Street where the two communities are separated
ENDviolence now: Young People should take the Lead
By Agnes Maato Durah
Increasingly the rate amongst school going pupils has become a national concern for parents and school authorities across the country, addressing the social menace is a challenge for everyone.
One of the biggest challenges to ending school violence be it bullying, violent discipline or attacks with knives and guns is widespread acceptance of it as a “normal” part of the school day. This July September, UNICEF will rally young people and parents around the world to realize the vision of the #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto, with the overarching message: Violence in schools is normal. But it shouldn’t be. Enough is enough. #ENDviolence now. UNICEF is encouraging both young people and parents to take action. Based on the Manifesto, young people will have the opportunity to fulfill their commitment to be kind, and parents will have the opportunity to take young people’s voices seriously and get involved.
Recently, there were ugly violent incidents in some school in Freetown, where pupils ran frenzy with police officers firing tear gas to control the riotous behaviour of the pupils. Dozens of pupils were arrested by the police and the most of them were charge to court. Despite concerns that they were being deprived of their human rights especially preventing them from writing their WASSCE examination.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the riotous conduct of the pupils, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Alpha Osman Timbo and some senior staffers of his ministry condemned the action of the pupils and immediately the ministry set up what its describes as “a national social mobilization in Sierra Leone to condemn the ongoing violence by pupils against Education officials who are stringently monitoring the public examinations (WASSCE) in the country”.
The cause of the rioting by the school pupils was not unconnected to cheating in examination according to the police sources. Some of pupils were caught cheating by examination officers, and when apprehended – a group of pupils attacked the teachers and threw stones at vehicles, causing damage.
The riotous conduct discomfort residents along some of the major streets in Freetown, where the West Examination Council was not spared in their outburst. Indeed, such a glaring red flag and signal, should be enough to awaken all of us from our deepest slumber! No kidding at all! When things like this happen, concerns and fear that the moral fabric and cohesiveness of our society is on the brink of collapse, should not be regarded as unfounded and taken lightly.
Since then, the Call to Action has been endorsed by eight countries, including: Georgia, Ghana, México, Moldova, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Uganda. UNICEF’s Safe to Learn: #ENDviolence in Schools work will continue throughout 2019, the first full year of the campaign, driving toward our three aims and guided by both the Safe to Learn Call Action and the #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto.
The Minister should proactive by working with partners through concrete strategies to end violence in schools across the country. Dialogue and cross Intra School meetings will help in salving the menace. The educators and school teachers should be ready to admonish the pupils about the ills of violence. Cheating in examination in a crime and pupils should not participate in entirely.
Arresting those caught involved in disruptive acts will only bring a temporary solution the root cause of anger and discontent being displayed by the Children must carefully be addressed.
We must strive to treat and handle them with care, dignity and respect. Discipline has its place when they get out of line, but not too harshly, like using tactics of terror, brute force and throwing them behind bars. This is totally unacceptable, repulsive and sickening.
The root causes must first be addressed, otherwise such incidents of violence, unruliness and outright display of anger will never ever cease; they will become like forest fires, when quenched in one place, they erupt and burst out into flames again, in another. Examine the symptoms first, then treat the disease and it will go away, and never return.
Children we ask forgiveness –society has failed you like a crippled man whose only wheelchair has been stolen, leaving him stranded, perplexed, at a loss for words with nowhere to go. The school environment should be safe space for children .Support the ENDviolence campaign.