According to the speech by a former principal on the 184th Anniversary of Fourah Bay College, “College population has grossly outgrown the existing infrastructure and facilities. Much of present infrastructure was inherited from the 2nd World War British garrison that first occupied this location and also from our colonial administrators of this college.After almost 70 years of a combination of normal wear and tear and maintenance neglect (largely due to lack of resources) the bulk of the infrastructure is now in various stages of decay and disrepair and therefore calling loudly for rehabilitation or restoration. Facilities that were meant for the use of no more than 300 students are now being overstretched to serve 6000 students”.
In sharp contrast to the above which reveals little modernization of FBC, the University of Liberia was some years back reconstructed to now have the potential to hold up to 14,000 students simultaneously. Sierra Leone needs to be working towards the same. The central Government has been working overtime to, according to Prof. Tom Yormah, first get BADEA (in 2011) and now, according to MOFED, to get Saudi Fund (this year) to fund a proposed rehabilitation and construction of a modern University. Please see below.
From all indications, not a single toilet works in the hostels which were shut down thus posing a grave health hazard. Additionally, the physical infrastructures are so dilapidated that they are really just an accident waiting to happen should any such affected cement structure collapse. Health and Sanitary concerns forced the administration to shut the hostels down.
It is clear that there are elements within the Koroma led APC Government who would wish to succumb to the rebellious students who resisted the authority of college’s administration. In my opinion, if a blind student decides he will join his colleagues to forcibly break into private college property that have been ordered closed and occupies them and resists a deadline date of May 10th 2012 for him/her to quit, then the college administration has no option but to set a very strong example for such a student to know his disability is not license for lawlessness.
I could not believe some of the utterly shameful statements that I heard on MONOLOGUE this past Saturday from the student leaders.
A so-called Law Student was saying Trespass is a civil matter and not a criminal matter? Is he really a Law Student? Vandalism, Criminal Trespass, Conspiracies to commit felonies were being rationalized as minor incidents of lesser gravity than spying! What kind of lawless society are we creating?
If APC-led Government applies pressure on the University Court to succumb to blackmail of the lawless students just because they want their votes, then we all might just as well shut down the lights on Sierra Leone’s civilization and go home! I hope ruling APC is brave enough to resist this lawless act of blackmail. I also hope the opposition SLPP will not use this as means of scoring cheap points. Something bigger than cheap politics is at stake here; Law & Order must never be sacrificed on the Alter of getting cheap popularity or votes!
Sierra Leoneans need to stand together against the growing lawlessness in our country which has taken over even sacred University grounds. See below for related material.
F/Sec. Edmund Koroma Signs Aide Memoire for Fourah Bay College with Joint BADEA/Saudi Mission
By Finance P.R.O. (June 2012)
The Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development [MOFED] Edmund Koroma, Engineer Amr Gabba of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa [BADEA] and Ibrahim Al Sugair of Saudi Fund for Development [SFD], on Wednesday 27th June 2012 signed an Aide Memoire for the Rehabilitation and Expansion of Fourah Bay College project at the office of the Financial Secretary at MOFED.
The Joint appraisal mission from the SFD and BADEA visited Sierra Leone from 20th to 27th June 2012. According to reports, the main objective of the mission is to appraise the Rehabilitation and Expansion of the Fourah Bay College project. The total project cost is estimated at US$36.65million.
The mission reviewed the studies and the designs of the project after meetings held with the Finance Ministry, which was followed with several meetings with line Ministries, Agencies and staff of Fourah Bay College.
The objective of the project is to contribute to the enhancement of the quality of higher education through improving the physical infrastructure of Fourah Bay College both by expanding and rehabilitating the existing dilapidated facilities, thus creating conducive and safe environments for learning.
Financial Secretary Edmund Koroma started his remarks by welcoming the joint appraisal mission and expressed delight to be part of the ceremony. He said the ceremony is of extreme importance for one key reason, which is that it will ensure the restoration of the oldest University in West Africa. He said the current state of FBC is very deplorable and environment not ideal for learning.
Financial Secretary Koroma pointed out that they are happy their partners within BADEA and Saudi Fund were willing to add to the contribution of the Government of Sierra Leone so as to create adequate resources together to rehabilitate Fourah Bay College.
Mr. Edmund Koroma noted that the project has been designed to ensure that new facilities are constructed to accommodate the current population of students in Fourah Bay College which was at an unprecedented high level.
The Financial Secretary raised concern that news about the mission’s presence to do a final appraisal has generated great expectations on the part of the students’ population who want to see their campus project commence immediately. He however noted that the way the current project is designed indicates that the earliest starting date will be 2014 which he said is too far off. He thus proposed a new timeframe of operations which will see the process of equipping of the consultant to commence once they signed the Aide Memoire. He stated that within the next three months the consultant will be recruited and will start work in November up to March next year by which the design should have been completed. He said by that March 2013 time of completion of the proposed designs, the money will be available from the development partners following which they will be in a position to go out for the full tender. In this way, he insisted, by June – July 2013 the project can commence.
He assured all that based on the interest of all parties in this issue, the Government would ensure that a serious contractor is appointed who can really complete the job in 18 months.
In his contribution Chief Economist at the Saudi Fund for Development, Ibrahim Al Sugair noted that the proposal as now put forward by the Financial Secretary is accepted based on the fact that the Board of his Fund has already given their approval for the disbursement of funds for FBC rehabilitation and that they can start even without signing the memoire.
In his remarks the Principal Officer of the Civil Engineering & Operations Department of the Arab Bank, Engineer AMR Gabba stated that they have agreed for the procedures to go on.
Deputy Vice Chancellor of Fourah Bay College, Professor Sahr Gbamanja, pointed out that the students were not allowed to stay on campus due to the present deplorable conditions of the hostels. He added that if they should stay out of campus for another year, they are worried what will be the reaction of the students and went on to appeal for the project to commence early.
Deputy Minister II of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr. Lansana Nyalley maintained that it is important to keep them informed always about what is going on as according to him whatever problem that emanates goes directly to them. He appealed that the rehabilitation of the college will focus on ensuring the needs of the next fifty years of FBC growth are met.
He further noted that they should make FBC enjoy a State of the Art facilities which will surpass or meet any other campus within West Africa.
Dr. Lansana Nyallay said this was essential as FBC holds a unique title and a huge reputation as the Athens of West Africa in days gone by. He therefore concluded by saying the Government placed priority on returning Sierra Leone back to its previous reputation to be first again in University learning through the provision of a modern constructed campus.
SOURCED FROM FINANCE MINISTRY WEBSITE (www.mofed.gov.sl)
UNIVERSITY of SIERRA LEONE
MAY 8th 2012 PRESS RELEASE
The public, parents, guardians and sponsors are hereby informed that a number of students at FBC have openly defied the Administration by refusing to vacate the hostels they have been illegally occupying for almost a month, despite several press releases and warnings. At the outset, the administration empathized with the several appeals made by the students to allow them to stay in the hostels during the conduct of examinations. The Students Union President who is a member of the University Court agreed that all the hostels would be vacated immediately after the examinations were concluded.
However, recognizing their refusal to vacate the hostels, several warnings have been issued highlighting their indiscipline and open challenge to the authority of the administration and advising them to leave the hostels. These warnings have been rebuffed through a counter press release issued by the students’ union executive, which at best is confrontational and disrespectful. Their press release also contained an ultimatum which has implications on national security.
The University Court has been working with the University Administration and Government to raise funds to rehabilitate the hostels so that they will be habitable. Many of the hostels are inhabitable largely due to students’ vandalization. The sanitary conditions are also deplorable and pose health hazards to students and the community.
Information reaching the administration has revealed that the illegal occupants are also accommodating females as well as others who have no business with the college. The public will agree that this is an unhealthy situation and cannot be condoned as it has very far reaching implications with respect to safety and health.
Their continuous illegal occupation of the hostels, further delays the commencement of the rehabilitation process.
The University of Sierra Leone hereby announces that all students illegally occupying the hostels at Fourah Bay College and defying the University authority will stand expelled from the University with effect from Thursday, May 10th 2012.
Parents, guardians, sponsors, well wishers and friends are requested to advise the students to leave the premises they are illegally occupying with immediate effect.
Please note that this is the LAST WARNING to the students who are resisting the discipline of the University.
Issued this 8th day of May, 2012, for and on behalf of the University of Sierra Leone.
Prof Jonas A.S. Redwood-Sawyer
Vice Chancellor and Principal
University of Sierra Leone.