Sierra Leoneans residing in the Hellenic Republic of Greece have catalogued some of the difficulties they’re experiencing ranging from lack of jobs, harassment, intimidation, molestation and accommodation.
Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie presenting his Letters of Credence to President Karolos Papoulias of the Hellenic Republic of Greece
Explaining their ordeals to Sierra Leone’s new Ambassador accredited to Greece, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie last Wednesday after presenting his Letters of Credence to President Karolos Papoulias, they (Sierra Leoneans) complained of the Greek government’s refusal to provide them with job facilities despite some of them having lived in the country for over ten years and attained academic qualifications.
They further highlighted the refusal of the Greek authorities to give them residential status making them vulnerable to random arrests and detention despite the number of years one might have stayed in the country, citing an example of one female Sierra Leonean (name withheld) who was arrested two weeks ago and sent to jail even though she has lived in Greece for nearly 20 years.
‘’They always tell us the few available jobs are meant for Greeks only and not for Africans’’.
John Koroma said he has now made up his mind to return to Sierra Leone after spending five years in Greece with no hope of a job neither to acquire legal residential status.
‘’I have seen Europe and the best thing for me to do is to go back to my country. Now I believe that not everything that glitters is gold. I will go and tell the story to my compatriots back home who are dying to make it to the West to stay home, work hard to achieve what you want in life. Dying to come to Europe is not the best option at all’’, he emphasized.
Responding to their complaints, Ambassador Sorie emphasized that Sierra Leone needs them more than the way Europe needs them. He urged those that have acquired skills and academic qualifications to think of going back home and help push the country forward.
‘’Only Sierra Leoneans can develop Sierra Leone. It is therefore imperative on all of us to contribute in whatever way we can to push our country forward’’.
Ambassador Sorie outlined the massive developmental strides the government has undertaken to change the face of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans especially with President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity programme.
Cross section of Sierra Leoneans in Greece.
In a related development, Ambassador Sorie also paid a courtesy call to the head offices of Action-Aid in Athens, Greece to thank the organization on behalf of the Sierra Leone government for the tremendous work they are doing to alleviate poverty among the rural population in the country.
However, the Ambassador cautioned Action-Aid to ensure that they verify their annual reports and get the side of the government before releasing their final reports as some of the issues in their latest reports are grossly exaggerated.
Action-Aid Sierra Leone is a subsidiary of Action-Aid in Greece with most of the funding of the former coming directly from the latter. It operates in seven districts in Sierra Leone namely Kambia, Bo, Kono, Bombali, Moyamba, Tonkolili and Western Area.