By Musa Bah
In my language, Fula, there is a saying, ‘Ñawndi wari'(Roughly: while trying to cure, you kill). Yesterday, I wrote to talk about diversification and how we should attract foreign companies in order to mitigate the issue of unemployment. This is certainly an important need of our country.
But, Mr president, in asmuch as we want to attract investors we must also ensure that the ones we attract respect and protect our environment. We cannot – should not – allow foreign companies to come here and make money at the detriment of our environment, and by extension our health.
The issue of the Bakoteh Dumping Ground which is an eyesore in that community has not been fully resolved yet though efforts are being made, I guess. This is a cause for concern as it has serious health implications.
As we are battling economic problems due to the horrible policies and the looting by the previous government, our economy cannot – should not – be made to bear the burden of massive health problems emanating from an avoidable problem caused by a dump site.
Now, news has it that a Chinese Company, Golden Leaf Factory, is dumping dead fish in the coastline of Tanji. This has serious health hazards and should be checked immediately. You see, Mr President, for some reason, some of these foreign companies have no regard for Africans and what they dare not attempt in their home countries is done in ours.
A few years ago, a European company dumped some toxic waste in Ivory Coast which caused health hazards to Ivorians and thus a row ensued. They think that because we have weak governments, and a somewhat nonexistent civil society organisations, they can do whatever they please with impunity.
Well, Mr President, for us at least, we have now ushered in a new democratic dispensation when we elected you into office. We are confident that you will take the necessary steps to make sure that no company, be it the Chinese Company or any other, will take advantage of our kindness to wreck havoc on our environment.
Mr President, these people must be stopped. And now! Besides, we must ensure that any company that comes here satisfies certain regulations which will protect the interest of the country.
I have observed something in some countries like Ghana and Senegal that any company that comes there has to have one of its natives as one of its top officials. I suggest that we have a law like that here as well. This will safeguard the interest of the nation at all times while the company works here. Let us work to promote our nation.
This is the only land we have. The only place we call home. The only place we can be proud of. As such, we should allow no one to destroy it for us!
Have a good day Mr President.