M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia
In a very brief, but colourful farewell ceremony hosted by the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of His Excellency Ambassador Alhaji M.S Kargbo, a good number of Embassy Staff, the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union, Thursday, 30th July, 2015 converged at the Chancery to bid farewell to the Head of Chancery, Umaru S. Dura, whose tour of duty has ended.
In his opening remarks, the Ambassador welcomed all the attendees and said the outgoing Head of Chancery deserved to be honoured for his outstanding and invaluable services to not only the Embassy but also to members of the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“That is why”, the Head of Mission added, “the Embassy in collaboration with the entire Sierra Leone Community thought it wise to organize this occasion to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to a man who for the past years served the Embassy and the community diligently.”
The Ambassador commended the Head of Chancery of being very resourceful at the Embassy during his tenure and his invaluable services will always be remembered. The envoy thanked the outgoing Head of Chancery and his wife, Marian Dura and encouraged the couple to continue to be of true service to their nation wherever they may be.
The Chairman of the ceremony, Salamu Koroma, First Secretary of the Embassy also praised the outstanding efforts made by the outgoing diplomat during his tenure of office at the embassy, expressing his appreciation for his (the outgoing diplomat) work and wished him continued success in all his future undertakings.
Various speakers also paid tributes to the outgoing Head of Chancery and among them were, M.B. Jalloh, the Information Attaché, the President of the Sierra Leone Nationals Union, Uthman Kargbo who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom. Speaker after speaker, paid tribute to the Head of Chancery and wished him a very safe journey to Sierra Leone.
In his farewell speech, the outgoing Head of Chancery (HOC) said he was overwhelmed by the huge turnout and the various tributes which he said are all indicative of his service to his nation and people. He thanked the various speakers whom he said had already delivered his report card at the end of his tour of duty on his behalf and therefore, there was nothing left to be said.
In a voice laced with mixed emotions of euphoria and sadness, the outgoing diplomat said, parting with people you have spent a long time with is a very difficult situation. But he also hastened to point out that: “It’s a sad moment, but I have to quit and give chance to others to serve the country.”
He thanked the Ambassador for recognizing his invaluable services to the Embassy and the Sierra Leone community, adding that, words cannot express the enthusiasm he and his wife have. He said he was very grateful and pleased with words of appreciation they have received both from the embassy and the Sierra Leone Community.
The outgoing HOC thanked the Sierra Leone Embassy Staff and the entire Community in the Kingdom for the support and cooperation he received from them during his tenure. He said their services will always be remembered, adding that he is confident that his successor will enjoy similar cooperation and support.
‘I am not a perfect being’, he said. ‘In the conduct of my duties, I might have knowingly or unknowingly offended some people. To such people, I humbly ask for your forgiveness.’
He promised to continue to work harder in his service to his nation and thanked his wife for being by his side and with whom he shares the praises. He concluded by thanking all Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom for their support and for attending the occasion.
In his vote of thanks, Unisa Kanu, a former President of the Union thanked the Ambassador, his staff and the entire community for honouring the outgoing diplomat. He also commended the open door policy of Mr. Dura.
The programme was climaxed by presentation of parting gifts from both the Embassy and the Sierra Leone Nationals Union and serving of delicacies.
Mr. Dura joined the Sierra Leone Civil Service in February 1986, a few months after graduating from Fourah Bay College. He started as Admin Officer Cadet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and rose through the ranks from Assistant Secretary to Permanent Secretary.
He has also worked in the following Ministries: Education, Mines and Mineral Resources, Local Government, Youth and Sports, Information and Communications. He also served as District Officer (DO) Kambia, Assistant District Officer (ADO), Bonthe, ADO one Bo, Senior District Officer (SDO) and later Chief Administrator Port Loko and Bombali in the same capacity.
He was posted to Saudi Arabia as Minister Councellor and Head of Chancery in January, 2013 – a position he held until his recent retirement from the service a few months ago.