25th July 2017
NaCSA Blames Finance Ministry for Delaying Monies for 500 Army Widows!!
By the Ranger (07/07/17)
The National Commission for Social Action NaCSA has blamed the Finance Ministry for delaying the monies owed 500 Army War Widows.
The angry protests started on Monday 22nd May, 2017 when some 500 war widows converged at the office of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in Freetown demanding that monies owed them be given now as they have waited for far too long. The office was blocked and workers were not allowed in or out of the building. (Pictured: Finance Minister Momodu L. Kargbo).
Speaking to this reporter at the scene, the Chair Lady of the Grafton camp Margaret Carew, disclosed that in 2009, NaCSA registered all of them and they gave them Le 300,000. They were then told that this was a five year programme. But since that initial payment, nothing has been given to them, neither have they seen any effort on the part of NaCSA nor the government to honour its obligation.
She stated that last year, the institution reregistered them and promised to settle things in the early part of this year. But, up to the time of hosting this peaceful demonstration at the offices of NaCSA, no payment has been made.
Margaret Carew explained that their kids are finding it very difficult to attend schools as they could not provide for them. She lamented that it was because of the sacrifices that their husbands gave that resulted to the peace the country is enjoying today. “This sacrifice should be respected to the extent that the government on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC should take up their responsibility. Unfortunately, nothing yet has happened in that direction,” she noted.
Amadu Bangura, NaCSA’s Programme Manager said that it is the right of the aggrieved parties to demonstrate against what has been a much delayed process. He explained that after the TRC, parliament approved a reparation bill which covered the demonstrators and a scheme was set up to address their welfare.
He also explained that there were five categories of victims of the war namely: Amputees, Severely Wounded, Orphans, Sexually Violated Girls/Women and War Widows. The first three have been addressed leaving the last two. He admitted that the process for the first 3 categories were faster than the last 2. This he said is not of their making but rather the absence of funding for the scheme from the government through the Ministry of Finance.
Amadu Bangura disclosed that the number of victims in the last 2 categories when verified in June last year was 13,757 out of which are 2,952 who were victims of sexual violence. Each was to be paid a total of Le1, 200,000 (One million two hundred thousand Leones), which when administrative cost was added gave a total figure of Le11.516 billion (eleven billion, five hundred and sixteen million Leones).
He however added that with the present austerity we are all going through the government has prioritised everything and there are other things up the ladder than the reparations. But went on to explain that NaCSA has done all that is in its power to present the total figure to the Finance ministry and has urged them to fast track the process to settle the victims and lay this matter to rest.
NaCSA is calling on His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma to intervene and save the situation. It should be borne in mind that ‘a hungry man is an angry man’.