Written by Øbey Gbanabome Sheezy
We would like to start by thanking LAJ’s fans and sympathizers for standing by him during these difficult times in his life. Your continuous support and show of solidarity is a clear manifestation of what he means to all of us, a human being that is devoid of perfection.
Many of you are aware of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention. Both LAJ’s actions and those of the Sierra Leone Police are very unfortunate but also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on many of the things facing our country, particularly on how we as citizens react to issues and our justice system.
For a start, when LAJ heard an unconfirmed story about him being reported on the radio, his immediate reaction was to go live on Facebook and clarify to his fans. And in the process of doing that, he allowed anger to take over him and ended up raining unwarranted insults on Asmaa James. As a management, we condemned his actions and immediately distanced ourselves from him. He later did what was expected, and possibly the only honorable thing he could do at the time, to apologize directly to Asmaa James.
When Mohamed Harass Barrie, the adopted son of Asmaa James heard of the insults, his immediate response was also to do a Facebook live to respond to LAJ’s insult and in the same manner, rained insults on LAJ’s mother. Both LAJ and Mohamed Barrie allowed anger to take over something that could have been handled differently.
In the midst of all this, the Sierra Leone Police declared LAJ WANTED and placed a bounty on him. This action by the SLP was beyond shocking to us as management, especially when the police could have just written a warrant or send our brother an invitation. Even when they found him, the SLP went on to manhandle and handcuff LAJ and paraded him on the streets like a murderer.
To make matters worse, while a bounty was placed on LAJ and now remains in police custody, Mohamed Harass Barrie, the son of Asmaa James continues to walk freely even though they both might have committed the same crime. This is added to the fact that LAJ, in his apology to Asmaa James, said he’s suffering trauma and depression.
This goes on to show the way we react to issues around us and deal with depression. An issue that required just a phone to Asmaa James by LAJ to clarify the story ended up with insults and Mohamed Barrie responded in like manner. And in the process of administering justice, the police escalated the issue to where it is now.
We, therefore, appeal to the Sierra Leone Police for LAJ’s immediate and unconditional release. As a management, we value his mental health and we have already begun looking for ways for LAJ to seek the professional help he needs. Just like many who are currently incarcerated for issues related to mental health, we do believe that prison isn’t the right way to solve this problem. And in a bid to do their work, we hope that the police will administer justice to ALL and treat EVERYONE fairly and equally regardless of their position in society and political affiliation.
Once more, thanks to the fans and sympathizers of LAJ and RFM as a whole for their continued support. We look forward to LAJ’s release and reuniting him with his family and friends during this festive season.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.