By Abdulai Koroma, Freetown.
As running battles between police and students have subsided at Fourah Bay College, there have been reports of a new conflict to emerge between students and the college administration.
The current impasse between students and the administrations is over illegal lodging done by students who were rusticated but who claimed that it was unfair to rusticate them and opined that there were other realistic alternative punishment that should have been adopted.
But now a new group calling itself the Liberation Movement says another conflict would erupt because of the administration’s Finance Department’s corrupt tendencies that deprived students of the Sierra Leone Government Grant- in- Aid refunds over the years. The students now allege that currently they have not yet received their refunds for 2009 /2010 academic year SLG awards and the Finance Department officials that include Mr. Tucker and Mrs. Turay had collected receipts for payments made by students so as to refund their monies.
”But up till now we have not heard anything about the refund. Since some of our colleagues are about to graduate, we fear that the story we were told about what happened in 2007 in which students who gained SLG in 2005 were asked to sign vouchers on the pretext that the refunds were available, but after signing the vouchers there was no sign of any Finance Department officials in their offices till the close of college. By then students entitled to the refunds were to graduate and they ended up leaving the money to the total of five hundred million Leones in the hands of the Finance Department officials” . (At the end, only one man in the Department was sacrificed, that was Pa Coomber because the college administration heard that Anti- Corruption Commission was to institute an investigation which never happened because even the ACC turned out to be a disappointment to the students) .
Students have vowed to raid the Department or meet face-to-face with the Principal this time or come down town to express their grievance against not only the Finance Department but also against the Exams Office which they allege is responsible for the abysmal plight of many students because they fail to accurately enter information on academic performance. :”And when you complain there is one rude guy there who because of his connection is always there to drive you away. Even when you take your complain to any authority nothing comes out of it”. The students have vowed that if those anomalies continue in the Exam Office and in the Finance Department, it would result to what they call a “war “ on campus.
“We plan to go down town so that those who do not know about our plight will know. They would sympathise with us when they come to know that even to register takes you a month because of the bellicose attitude of the finance staff. We need a change in Sierra Leone and it should start at FBC”, a member of The Liberation Movement says.
PV has not been able to contact the college’s administration to react to these allegations and threats.