Fatmata Bangura, the 17th Accused in the Cocaine Plane saga has been granted bail late last week following an application made to the High Court of Sierra Leone by her lawyer, Biloku Sesay Esq. Justice Aiah Konoyima gave her bail in the sum of 5 million leones and one surety.
It will be recalled that Fatmata Bangura’s plight was brought to the full public consciousness by social commentator Sylvia Olayinka Blyden of the Awareness Times newspaper. In a protest published on behalf of Fatmata Bangura last Monday September 29th 2008, Sylvia Blyden had written: "Whatever the case may be, Fatmata Bangura is now ill in prison and no-one seems to care that she has been charged with a bailable "offence" but is not getting bailed out - ostensibly because she’s listed on the same charge sheet as alleged cocaine traffickers. None of the rights groups seem to care but if anything should happen to the sick Fatmata Bangura in prison, it will be on all our consciences! Women’s Groups, Human Rights, Democracy & Freedom Activists, Judiciary, the Law Officers, the Justice Minister, the Human Rights Commission, etc. etc. Not a single one would be able to face their consciences if this elderly woman dies in prison before she is tried for the offence of ‘conspiring to use a boat...’ Is any one of you listening? I am making this public protest to satisfy my conscience. What about you?"
When the Exclusive contacted Sylvia Blyden, she said that she felt "very pleased" when she got the news that Fatmata Bangura had been granted bail.
"For us all to lay claim to being a civilized society, we must be able to bravely stand up for the downtrodden in this society regardless of who or what we are up against. Fatmata Bangura being kept continuously in jail, was an indictment on our collective claim to civilization. I am happy that someone, somewhere saw things the same way I did and released her from Pademba Road to await her trial," Sylvia Blyden said.
It is not only Sylvia Blyden who is pleased with herself. Several women who spoke to The Exclusive following the development, have all been hailing Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s outspoken stance on the issue.
Mumizoo Dixon, one of the chairladies of the Garrison Street Traders who sell in front of Blyden’s offices in the PZ area told The Exclusive Newspaper that Sylvia Blyden was already clearly showing the attributes of a lady of conscience who cared for the sufferings of her compatriots in the society.
"Sylvia Blyden is the kind of woman that this country needs in leadership positions. A woman of strength and courage but who is also with a caring nature that makes her feel for the misfortunes of her fellow citizens," a prominent women’s activist, Haja Bomposseh of Low Cost Housing told this writer shortly after Fatmata Bangura was granted bail.
Meanwhile, Sylvia Blyden has confirmed to The Exclusive that she does not even know the 17th Accused Fatmata Bangura in person but had written her public protest on behalf of Fatmata Bangura because of "nothing but my conviction that it was the right thing to do".
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.