23rd February, 2022
By: Alex A. Bah & Paul A. Conteh
Last week, Fourah Bay College (FBC) celebrated its 195th anniversary. This college was the first western-style University in West Africa. The institution started as a church clergy and laity training centre across the sub-region. With about two centuries of its existence, the college has introduced various programmes that cater for society’s needs. The college has produced students that are engaged in worldwide leadership and service.
Even though Fourah Bay College has a rich history and heritage, the present status of the institution is cause for concern. The leadership of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) is one unit trying to see the college regain its long, lost glory. Fourah Bay College Students’ Union Government on Thursday 10th February, 2022, started a ‘Justice Desk’ through its Justice Ministry.
The Justice Desk is a campaign borne out of the desire of the SUG to initiate a culture of integrity, honesty, and decency within the academy. This they will execute by conducting awareness-raising programmes on corruption, building the capacity of students to deal with crime and reporting any incidence of academic corruption and injustices at the university.
The Anti-Corruption Commission as an institution leading the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, treasures the support of young people, especially students that represent the emerging generation of leaders and shapers of society. These sets of people are disproportionately affected by the scourge-corruption way more than every other age bracket, as they; young people, constitutes greater part of the country’s demography. They have a huge role to play as they are often perpetrators of it, and equally bear its greatest brunt.
To this end, in complimenting this brilliant stride by the Students’ Union Government, the Commission will provide the students with leadership trainings, finance, and logistics. The Commission also offered its toll-free line of 515 to the campaign. Students will use this line to report corruption and injustices at Mount Aureol.
The Commission committed itself to the confidentiality of whistleblowers under the provisions in Section 81 and by extension 82 of the 2008 Anti-Corruption Commission Act as amended in 2019.
By Section 7 of the 2008 Act as amended, the Commission will have the student body support its mandate to prevent corruption and take the desired steps to address/suppress its occurrence. The two entities hope that this initiative will reduce injustice, victimization, malpractices and maximize academic excellence. The students will have an enabling environment wherewithal teaching and learning will happen unhindered, and fair and deserving treatment will be given to all of them. The toxic elements of bribery, sex for grades and other forms of suppression and unwarranted victimization will be reduced. The students will have an avenue to seek the desired redress and are assured the requisite confidentiality around their complaints.
However, the onus for the success and sustainability of this desk lay primarily on the shoulders of the students. The Commission and College administration’s requisite support will make this desk operational. But students are the ones that regularly confront the issues handled by this platform during their days of study at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
The hope is for young people to continue joining the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.
©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC