Cultism in Sierra Leone universities ? Not in my sight, says pres. Bio

Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone. Photo : TL

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, says he will use every means including constitutional provisions to uproot cultism in the country’s universities.

President, Julius Maada Bio made the pledge when he inaugurated the Court of the University of Sierra Leone (USL) early this week.

“My government would not tolerate cultism-,” he said emphatically.

“While my government respects the constitutional provision guaranteeing freedom of association, it wouldn’t accept students who are expected to demonstrate high ethical standards to hide behind the cloak of fraternities and sororities to engage in cruel and sometimes fatal practices against their colleagues as a rite of passage to membership of their clubs.

“The university should not become a sanctuary for cultism or secret societies. This is unacceptable and my Government will not tolerate that anymore,” the president.

FBC is one of the three constituent colleges of the USL. The others are the College of Medicine and Allied Health Science (CMAHS) and the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM).

FBC is not just the oldest among the three, but it is also Sub Saharan Africa’s oldest institution of higher learning.

Because of the role it played providing education for many Africans, Sierra Leone earned the nickname Athens of Africa.

But this image of the college has suffered in the last decade amidst the fall of educational standard across the country. At FBC much of this has been blamed on cultism, media reports in Freetown said.

Over the last six months, cultism has been proliferating among pupils and student across the country, with many of their leaders dragged before the court after the death of their colleagues

Prominent among them is a cult group calling itself “Members of the Blood,” and who were about to commence an initiation ceremony at the Aberdeen beach west of Freetown, when a crack police squad swooped and arrested them.

Police spokesperson, Inspector Ibrahim Samura, told reporters that the pupils, all teenagers, were caught with offensive weapons and were caught naked, beating and kicking each other as they were about to perform the rites.

In a related development, ten university student were involved in an alleged murder of a colleague, last month, at an initiation ceremony of a student club named “Island” to which all of them belong.

The case is still pending judgement in a magistrate’s court in Freetown.

© Bur-csa – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV)