The cold hands of death gripped Sierra Leone again this morning as one of the bravest and one of the most gallant former officers of the country’s armed forces, retired Col. Tom Nyuma, passed away in Freetown. Tom had been sick for sometime and was admitted at the Choitram’s Hospital in Freetown. His condition worsened two days ago when he went into a coma after earlier losing his ability to speak.
Tom Nyuma served as Under Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State Eastern Region under the National Provisional Ruling Council ( NPRC ) Junta which overthrew the constitutional government of the late Brig. Gen. President Joseph Saidu Momoh in 1992.
THE LATE TOM NYUMA
Tom Nyuma came to live in the U.S. after the NPRC handed over power to the SLPP Government of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1996. He returned home before the 2007 elections that brought President Ernest Koroma to power . He pitched his tent with the SLPP and became Chairman of the Kailahun District Council . However , by the time he left office, he had fallen out with the dysfunctional SLPP and he joined the APC in a famous news event in Sierra Leone.
Tom Nyuma was a fan of the COCORIOKO Newspaper because in 2002 this was the only newspaper that gave him and other former NPRC officials who included retired Lt. Col. Idrissa Kamara ( now living in Virginia , USA ) , Col. Taqi Mansaray and Lt. Ken Josiah (Both also living in the U.S. ) the opportunity to have their own side of the story heard by Sierra Leoneans and the whole world at a time when newspapers and online forums were villifying them to extremes for the alleged roles they played in the Civil war, NPRC Coup and during their service in the junta.
The former soldiers who had bravely helped to defend and protect the territorial integrity of Sierra Leone and saved the lives of many victims of the war were disappointed and frustrated that their own countrymen and women never gave them the opportunity to have their own side heard. They jumped at the opportunity provided them by COCORIOKO and we ran a series of articles in which the soldiers in their own words clarified the misconceptions and fabrication against them. It turned out that most of the stories being peddled against these former junta members were bold-faced lies.
After the blockbuster series of articles which went down well with Sierra Leoneans, the soldiers were so delighted that Lt. Col. Idrissa Kamara made a prophesy that has today been fulfilled that if the Publisher , the Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu , who conducted the interviews , continued to provide such outstanding media services to the nation, he would one day ascend to one of the highest positions of the land in the field of Mass Communications. Col. Kamara later joined the APC and has since been playing a commendable role in the party’s USA Branch.
When Tom Nyuma went to Sierra Leone and became Chairman of the Kailahun District Council, he told this publisher that when he visits Sierra Leone, he ( Nyuma ) will invite him to Kailahun and accord him the highest honor for helping to clear his name in the U.S.
COCORIOKO was glad to render the service to the soldiers because they are remarkable gentlemen and chivalrous soldiers who became undeserved victims of a junta they served that later detoured from its stated goals .To this day, Col. Idrissa Kama admits some of the failings of the junta but states that they were not in positions where they were able to influence or overturn some of the events that smeared the name of the junta, mainly orchestrated by the then Chairman, Valentine Strasser, his deputy ( Who later overthrew him ) Brig. Maada Bio and the late Capt . S.A. J. Musa , who wielded most of the powers .
Those who had hobnobbed with Nyuma describe him as a very nice and helpful young man .
Sierra Leone has lost one of her bravest and most fiery fighters of her armed forces .
May his soul rest in peace.