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Sierra Leone News: Gola Forest controversy affects chiefdoms

The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) Patrick Monty Jones has assured the people of Nomo Chiefdom in Kenema District that the Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) will not in any way take any part of their community forest but continue to bring development to them and generations yet unborn. He said the GRNP continues to operate in the national park that is found in the South and Eastern region of the country that is Bari and Makpele Chiefdoms in Pujehun District, Malema Chiefdom in Kailahun District, Koya, Nomo, Gaura and Tunkia chiefdoms in Kenema District in the eastern region.
The Minister addressed the seven paramount chiefs and other stakeholders from the Kenema District at the provincial administration conference hall along Maxwell Khobe Street in Kenema. He said six out of the seven paramount chiefs have completed signing the MOU between the community GRNP. The Nomo Chiefdom must sign the MOU and therefore called on the paramount chief of Nomo and his people to sign the MOU in the shortest possible time to give way to development in the two regions. He called on the resident minister east Karamoh Kabbah to immediately convey a meeting at Faama in the chiefdom headquarter town to put a stop to the potential problem that is boiling in the chiefdom.
The Paramount Chief of Nomo Chiefdom PC Alhaji Vandi Moinama K. Kamoh, said he has signed the document but some of his section chiefs have denied to sign the MOU alleging that if they sign the document GRNP will take the community forest from them. He said the situation has not only created molestation for him but all the seven paramount chiefs when they paid visit to the chiefdom.
In her statement the Acting Executive Director National Protected Area Authority (NPAA), Kate M.B. Karemo-Garnet, called for urgent action to be taken on the Nomo issue to prevent spillover effect. She called on the management of the Gola Rainforest National Park to be frequently making use of the electronic media adding it will go a long way in disseminating the appropriate information to the communities there by bridging the gap between the community and the GRNP.
SM/6/11/17
By Saffa B. Moriba
Tuesday November 07, 2017.

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