Sierra Leone police arrests civil rights activist and 40 students

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 March 2020:

The Executive Director of the Citizens Advocacy Network (CAN), Thomas Moore Conteh and forty students of the Limkokwing University, have today been arrested and detained without charge by the Sierra Leone Police in Freetown.

They were arrested whilst on a peaceful procession, calling on the government to honour the decision of the precious government to pay fees for students on government grants.

The students have been home for over six months because the Bio-led government has refused to pay their fees to the University, as was agreed in the scholarship award letters given to them by the ministry of education.

Chairman and Leader of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party – Dr Dennis Bright, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that he is concerned, and is now engaging with government and the police to release Thomas Moore and the students from detention.

Dr Bright is also trying to open up negotiations with the government to resolve the situation of the students.

Many Sierra Leoneans are appalled at the arrest of Thomas Moore and the students, and are referring to this latest heavy handed policing as another step towards the rapid erosion of civil liberty and human rights in Sierra Leone.

Organisers of today’s demonstration say that their application to hold the demonstration was accepted by the police, who gave them the go ahead, and cannot understand how a peaceful march could result in the arrest of Thomas Moore and the students.

See video below:

 

 

15 Comments

  1. May I remind you that the central issue here is not about EBK – EBK has executed his mandated period as President and gone. It is about young men and women who have struggled all the way to their final year in university, and now found themselves in limbo in the accreditation of their degrees, through a government that specialises in the art of retribution; and nothing else. Even though it is the same government that boasts of a flagship Free and ‘Quality’ Education. What an ironical laugh!

    Young4na is just expressing his emotions and sentiments as a considerate and conscientious human being. On the other hand, it seems as if you guys have lost these attributes in your appetite for narrow minded thinking. Young4na is a substantive contributor on this forum, unlike you who come once in a blue moon – without any originality and substance – to express your hatred about EBK, irrespective of the real issues at hand. In a way, you represent the typical Sierra Leoneans who align their arguments within the margins of tribalism. Perhaps, it is high time you rectify your thinking faculties. That is the only way forward for Sierra Leone … Try to be patriotic!

    • Darkaay, just see how some SLPP supporters have gone berserk on this glorious platform because of the way fourumites supporting the mighty APC are using their debating/discussing skills. It’s really awesome. Frankly speaking, these are worrying times to become a SLPP supporter because, there is nothing to say in terms of development two years on. The only way to damp their anger and disappointment, is by personal attacks and intimidation on responsible APC supporters. Ridiculous and sad. It’s better for them to cross the carpet before it’s too late. No need to pretend or say, the grapes are sour because, you can’t reach them.

      Thank you very much Mr. Alimamy Turay, Young4na, Mr. Saidu Conteh and others for your skills in tackling and digesting some of the fake comments on this glorious platform with maturity, responsibility and focusing on the issues. God bless you all.

  2. Hahahah, David Bangura, one of the delusional POAPA supporters cannot handle the truth. As usual, whenever these diehard party fanatics are forced to come to terms with the reality compared to what their party gods have been feeding them, their only reaction is to label one as the opposition. Once again, David, I am totally fine with you labeling me an EBK fan. This is not the first time or never will be the last when I have been labelled for different political parties in our nation. When I criticize the corrupt actions of the previous EBK regime, many of my APC friends will label me an SLPP supporter.

    The same thing goes when I criticize SLPP, I am called an APC sympathizer. So by the look of things, I am totally happy for being called or labelled different things. It’s a good thing because I am a Sierra Leonean, I should represent best of both worlds. I am looking forward to continue debating with you Mr. Bangura. You and I have had our small exchanges in the past, don’t ever hesitate to reply on my comments, I am always ready to engage you.

  3. Abu Paul Conteh says — “So Mr Young4na, your argument to support your biased view in current day Sierra Leone does not make sense. The only difference with what Aminta posited about the 2017 incident and the current one is that in the former a wicked regime decided to divert funds approved by parliament for payment of lecturers at government owned universities to finance thier private venture without regard to the law, and today the Bio government refusing to fund an unscrupulous venture that is still a subject of an ongoing commission of inquiry”.

    Hey Paul Conteh, welcome to one of the most renowned Sierra Leonean platforms, where discussion on issues pertaining to our sweet mama Salone are done in an intellectual level with emphasis on facts relating to contemporary and historical events affecting our nation. Now, as far as going back decades, our government through the help of international partners has been awarding various scholarships many of which are opportunities to study abroad, with recently mainland China and a host of other global locations. For each of the scholarship recipient, the Sierra Leone government is responsible for the provision of stipends and other allowances ranging into thousands of United States dollars each year. As far as my memory can serve me, each successive regime that took over governance have always honoured these obligations albeit the late disbursement of some of these benefits to students from time to time.

    For each successive regime, the manner of how these scholarships are awarded or the contract thereof, has never been a factor in honoring these obligations. The focus has always been to continue helping this young group of Sierra Leoneans educating themselves which by extension benefits the whole nation in the long run.

    In light of the aforementioned, the topic of discussion here is a group of Sierra Leoneans numbering over one thousand from diverese backgrounds being awarded scholarship to study at a private renowned international university locally. Factoring the cost which is the main point of contentious for the Bio regime, I want you Mr. Conteh to prove to this platform in non-equivocal terms which of the 2 scholarship forms are more expensive to maintain throughout the course of study. Again which is more cheaper – the scholarship awarded internationally where each month the Sierra Leone government has to disburse hundreds of thousand of United States dollars for student support or the locally awarded ones where tuition is the only cost to the government? Please I am looking forward to a response sir.

    Now, since this issue came up, my comments have focused on the plight of the students. Throughout my comments, I desist from bringing up the usual scuffle and civil unrest that emanate from public demonstrations. With the usual political mindset, Ms. Aminata Conteh brought up the issue of a previous student demonstration during the EBK regime for late payment of lecturers. Now with the same mindset, you, Paul Conteh is also claiming the current scholarship issue is the same as what happened then.

    So to counter your arguments, please address the following questions for me sir: are student demonstrations and the late payment of teachers and lecturers salaries only unique to the EBK regime? Notwithstanding the drama that always ensued, have the Sierra Leone government ever failed to pay the lecturers/teachers so they can resume their work? Have we ever in the history of Sierra Leone education seen a group of Students who have studied up to their final year in college being forced to become dropouts simply because the government fail to pay their scholarship? Please address these questions Mr. Conteh; I really want to see the correlation between this unique situation we have at hand, and the usual perennial reoccurrence of late payments of lecturers and student demonstrations.

  4. Yei Manga – when addressing people you must strive,very hard to be selective,and precise with your choice of words. For some words carry the sweet fragrances of flowers, while others,the stench of rotten decaying flesh. Again,words can be used as effective tools, and weapons for bringing down structures of ignorance,prejudices,and regressiveness. Which tools are you using?It looks like a worn out,broken,battered hammer to me.(lol)

    Now don’t get things terribly twisted; Saidu Conteh never runs,or HIDES from anyone. Since day one,I have made my position clear that I am APC to the bone,and marrow,so why would you even think I would be hiding?Hiding from what,or who?And for what offence?Those subliminal messages,are for cowards not me. I’m not too hard to find; If the criminal SLPP desires to do so,it will be as easy as drinking a glass of water. Strange,is it not,that with my signature line,at the end of all my comments, some crawling Caterpillar, anxious to become a butterfly that soars,would have the audacity to suggest that the “Great Sayedna” could be hiding somewhere?

    You can call my comments Partisan if you want,alright with me,but every single one of them is a rare nugget of pure gold, tried and purified with fire,and sizzling with the flames of empathy,sincerity,and truth. Good for you that you know some nice APC. people,and that’s great,but sincerely I am not one of them;I am a lion in the midst of wolves. I’m the BAD guy that eats,sleeps,drinks,and rolls with the thugs and Rarray Boys – I am the one they believe in – I’m the warrior they trust to represent them,at all times to the fullest. Now Remember this always – Intelligent Bad Guys Are Built To Last…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. Aminata Conteh says — “In 2017, I read an article on this same Sierra Leone Telegraph with graphic images of students shot and one killed in Bo Njala university) because government (EBK’s) government could not pay the lecturers thier salaries and students thier granting aid which resulted to the lecturers downing thier tools”.

    Ms. Conteh, with all due respect, must you always allow your biased political impulses to dictate your perception on any national issue that arises? Your tendencies to conflate issues coupled with some of your incoherent approach while contributing to topics of discussion slated in this forum are all symptoms of an indoctrinated partisan political follower.

    Now, the topic of discussion is about the failure of the Bio regime in honoring a scholarship contract offered to a diverse group of young Sierra Leoneans to study in one of the private universities in the country. In your typical fashion, instead of addressing what’s at hand, you are conflating issues by bringing up a chronic, perennial issue of teachers and lecturers not being paid on time which is a common occurence to this segment of civil servants from time memorial.

    Ever since I was in class one, there has always been teachers or lecturers going on strike for none payment of their salaries. Likewise, it has always been a common practice for institutions to deny students in taking final exams and in some instances seize their results for none payment of tuitions. So, I clearly don’t see any correlation between these widespread and mundane issues with this particular topic of discussion. This is a typical scenario of mixing apples and oranges; clearly 2 different types of fruits.

    It’s no secret that the EBK regime signed the contract and paid 2 years of these students tuition. It’s also no secret that the proprietor paid the 3rd year tuition for all the affected students. Whether the contract was done in a clear, transparent or formal way is not the topic of discussion. What’s important is that, almost one thousand young Sierra Leoneans have their future hanging in limbo simply because of politics. If the Bio regime is professing to value human capital development, why allow this group of young Sierra Leoneans to become dropouts?

    The fact remains, this particular private university is the only one in the nation special and equipped with modern international Information Technology learning apparatus and highly qualified staff. I was made to understand that, the university also offer qualifying students to pursue their studies in any of their international campuses around the globe including Europe. So the cost of the tuition cannot be unrelated to many of the benefits that come along with studying in this renowned international university.

    Factoring the backwardness and deplorable conditions in majority of our public universities, coupled with the chronic educational malpractices all across, we should be proud to have one international institution setting the bar for our young generation.

    • Young4na sees no correlation between the Bio government refusing to pay the tuition fees for over a thousand students at a private university which said fees are used by the Adminstrators to pay thier staffs and bill with the former government although they had the resources refused to pay the salaries of lecturers in thier employment which resulted to the lecturer at the government owned universities to stop lectures.

      My form 4 Statistics Teacher at the Kolentine would conclude that their is a direct correlation. At police training school in Hastings, Pa Jawara my criminal law teacher, informed us about fact in issue and fact although not in issue when considered circumstantially can impact the evidence as the facts in issue.

      So Mr Young4na, your argument to support your biased view in current day Sierra Leone does not make sense. The only difference with what Aminta posited about the 2017 incident and the current one is that in the former a wicked regime decided to divert funds approved by parliament for payment of lecturers at government owned universities to finance thier private venture without regard to the law, and today the Bio government refusing to fund an unscrupulous venture that is still a subject of an ongoing commission of inquiry. Wait, another difference is that students were actually shot and killed for demonstrating while in the recent one students were arrested and released saved for a non student who thought he can use the cover of students to breach the peace.

    • “Ms. Conteh, with all due respect, must you always allow your biased political impulses to dictate your perception on any national issue that arises? Your tendencies to conflate issues coupled with some of your incoherent approach while contributing to topics of discussion slated in this forum are all symptoms of an indoctrinated partisan political follower.” Young4na

      If there is anyone who has symptoms of an indoctrinated partisan political follower on this forum, it surely is Young4na. He is the one who always cringes whenever the truth is told about Ernest Koroma and the APC. What he calls facts are in fact nothing but a piece of APC propaganda arising from years of indoctrination into the useless APC culture.

      What contract does the Bio administration have to honor relative to the APC meal ticket called Limkokwing University? If the Government of Sierra Leone does not pay fees for students at the University of Makeni, the first private university in Sierra Leone, is it at that APC co-owned Limkokwing University that it should pay fees?

  6. A topical issue in the public domain is the payment of fees or grant-in-aid for students of the Malaysian University Limkokwing, named after Dr. Sri Paduka Lim Kok Wing, brought in by the former All People’s Congress (APC) Minister of Education, Science and Technology-Dr. Minkhailu Bah.

    A lot of misinformation have been peddled either to politically dent the New Direction administration or to use the innocent students as political baits to obstruct the peace and security of the state. The reality is, there are three sides to a story: Your Side, My Side and The Truth.

    The Truth
    The sacred truth is, the Limkokwing University administration went into a fraudulent deal with the former APC led Government which was why the establishment of the private university wasn’t ratified by Parliament as law required. They even didn’t seek Cabinet approval.

    The Limkokwing University management only signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) without a properly defined agreement and severability clause, at the expense of the country’s ailing economy.

    The truth is, Sierra Leonean students are paying the highest amount compared to other campuses across the 150 countries.

    The truth is, each student pursuing a Degree course is paying 3000 United States Dollars and 500 United States Dollars is reportedly transferred to Dr. Minkhailu Bah and his team as their own share/s. Similarly, a Diploma student currently pays 2,500 United States Dollars and only 2000 United States Dollars as the actual money paid to the University and the remaining 500 United States Dollars reportedly transferred to Dr. Bah and team. Just calculate 1000 United States Dollars by 1,200 students and tell me your total. This is a huge wastage!

    Another truth is, Dr. Bah was/is still being paid as a Consultant for Limkokwing University.
    The final truth is, the APC left a debt of 14 Billion Leones that has already been paid by the New Direction administration.

    • A lot of wild claims and assertions here with absolutely no iota of evidence to substantiate your utterance Mr. Sannoh. It absolutely makes no sense for a private University with renowned international standing to be giving out a portion of each student tuition $500 according to your claim to a politician for life. This is the definition of absurdity. With all due respect, your comments are laced with propaganda all around. You can surely do better than this Mr. Sannoh.

  7. This issue of non-tuition payment for this group of students has been going on for far too long. I know the cost of tuition at this particular private university is extremely high compared to the rest of the universities in the country, however, all the affected students are in their final year. The EBK regime had paid 2 years of these students’ fees and I was made to understand that the proprietor of the university paid last year’s full tuition for all the affected students. So why can’t the Bio regime pay for this last and final year for these students?

    Why continue to allow these young people’s future hang in limbo for one year’s tuition? What happens to the human capital development mantra of the Bio regime? If the government is offering free education to young citizens across the nation many of whom will never step their feet to a university, why not help these ones who are already in their final year of college? Please Mr. Government, do something for this group of students. If the previous EBK government can afford to pay for these students for 2 consecutive years, you can surely do for the remaining one year.

    • So Mr Young4na, EBK’s regime was able to pay two years fees at a very expensive university for over a thousand and more students and yet he could not pay a year fees for students at a less expensive government owned university and you are here glorifying such despicable act?

      Do you need Mr Elkass Sannoh to tell you that if what you are claiming happened, then something somewhere was wrong and now you demand the current government to continue that same wrong.

      In 2017, I read an article on this same Sierra Leone Telegraph with graphic images of students shot and one killed in Bo Njala university) because government (EBK’s) government could not pay the lecturers thier salaries and students thier granting aid which resulted to the lecturers downing thier tools.

      Ironically, as per your post above, this was the same period that the EBK”s government paid millions of dollars (two years college fees) for over a thousand students at the most expensive private university in the country. This university and the deal surrounding it is a subject of the current COI. Since everything surrounding this university is political, I would not blame the current government for renegading on that which is not sustainable.

  8. My goodness! Chaos and anarchy everywhere in Sierra Leone,that no one in their right minds can condone,but the notorious, barbaric SLPP. Our streets,are ceaselessly burning with the fire of revenge,ignited by the hands of the boys in green.The once calm serene streets of Freetown,have now all clearly become Evil streets;and rapidly becoming an erratic,volatile war zone,where unstable Gestapo’s in SLP uniforms,wearing angry,scowling,hateful looks,are dressed,and ready for war,in military
    boots.

    Yep,they are under the strictest orders to be as vicious as hyenas,and merciless like rabid wolves,frothing at their mouths, thirstily, salivating for the blood of the most fragile, and weakest among us. Folks,be advised a dark moment has come,like the return of a paranoid,wounded soldier,that went to war, and was left behind. An era for the promotion mindless brutality, settling old scores,and trampling on the freedoms, and liberties of citizens is now upon us.

    Children,get your candles ready, for the darkness about to descend on us all,is bound to be frightening, and truly overwhelming. A Peaceful protest, that could have been settled easily with smiles handshakes,and kind words,has been poorly handled,and transformed into an incident facilitating discord, and stoking the fires of hatred.

    Inshaallah,their way of brutality,and darkness will not prevail;We’ve resisted them since Independence, and have not become
    worn out, tired, or weary; And God Willing,we will resist,and stay with them until their end. Government of Sierra Leone, without further delay,Release all those illegally,and unlawfully arrested,and being held in custody….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • where are you hiding Saidu Conteh and Young4na?

      while you have the right to support your APC (and by the way there are few good people in the APC , people like Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Chernoh Bah aka Chericoco etc), however when similar and worst things happened during the reign of your despicable leader, you treated it with modicum of insouciance and now you want to make fire on the mountain.

      To buttress what Aminata Conteh asserted in her post above, I bring you the article for you to read and if your conscience serve you well as you want us to believe, you might throw in a comment not akin with your never ending partisan view but a Sierra Leonean view (patriotic)

      “Breaking News – Sierra Leone district of Bo under siege – one student shot dead”
      2017

      https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/breaking-news-sierra-leone-district-of-bo-under-siege-as-police-and-students-stage-standoff/

  9. Is Mr Thomas Moore a Student or he joined the students’ demonstration as a way of solidarizing with the plight of the students?

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