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May 11th is commemorated by young people the world over in remembrance of the death of legendary Reggae artist Bob Marley. Bob Marley was and still is celebrated not just for the melody and lyrics of his music but also for his rich messages that appeal to wider audience. The themes of his music includes: nationhood, racial equality, oppression, segregation, self determination etc.
Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development in Sierra Leone (FDID-SL) is not in any way condemning the commemoration of this day but rather sounding caution to the manner in which it has been celebrated by young people in Sierra Leone.
This day has been associated with marijuana intake. Marijuana is a widely abused drug in current day Sierra Leone and is associated with social mischief. Most young people are initiated into the smoking of marijuana on this day. It can be seen in every community throughout Sierra Leone. We are therefore calling on parents to ensure that their teenage children are properly monitored on this day. Prevention FDID-SL believes is the only way we can successfully combat drug abuse and its attendant’s social problems.
FDID-SL is appealing to the police to maintain vigilance on this day. On the same date in 2012, residents of Saint John and Brookfields Communities were placed under siege by hoodlums purportedly in the guise of commemorating Bob Marley night. Properties were stolen and young girls sexually assaulted. If our society is to be regarded as safe, lawlessness must be brought to a halt. The police must firstly identify youth hangouts within the various urban towns and secondly, ensure police presence at these points. We do not wish to see a repeat of what transpired in2012. The police hierarchy should ensure that the police do not get involved in this celebration as this will send the wrong message to the wider public as one cannot set a thief to catch a thief.
To the young people of this nation, we are saying drugs do not solve problems but rather destroy you. Do not get high on drugs, get high on academic meditation; shun drugs and live a healthy life. Drug has the propensity to derail your progress and can destroy a whole generation. The youth form the nucleus of the working population of every nation and subsequently the bedrock of development. If the youth are destroyed, the future of our country becomes bleak and a disaster in waiting. In order to avert our country from this unenviable path, it behooves every well meaning Sierra Leonean to join in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse especially on Bob Marley night.
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