Delay to supply furniture prevents students from occupying FBC hostels


January 17, 2019

By Joseph S. Margai

One of the rehabilitated hostels on Fourah Bay College (FBC) Campus

The BADEA Project Manager, Sorie Manbay Kanu, has disclosed to Concord Times on Monday, 14th January, 2019, that Fourah Bay College (FBC) students are yet to occupy the hostels despite the completion of the rehabilitation process, mainly because of the delay to supply furniture.

Kanu, who was providing an update about the project in an exclusive interview, recalled that the rehabilitation process of the hostels was completed in September, 2018, but noted that there was a delay in the release of funds for the procurement of furniture.

In 2014, the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) announced that a sum of 36.5 United States Dollars was released for the rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure to be done on FBC campus.

The BADEA project was funded by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), which contributed US$13 million, US$12 million from Saudi Fund, and US$8 million from BADEA, with the government of Sierra Leone contributing US$3.65 million.

The project was financed by a ‘soft loan’ with low interest spanning fifteen years.

During a site visit on Monday, Concord Times found out that toilet seats in the hostels, doors, electric fittings on the wall, among other installed facilities, have been carted away by thieves.

When asked as to whether such ugly development would not delay the handing over of the hostels to the university authorities for onward occupation by students, Kanu said it will not because the contractors have bought new ones.

He said the university authorities should ensure that they provide security for the newly installed facilities, so as to prevent thieves from stealing them.

Initially, the project was to be completed within 24 months, but  Kanu told Concord Times that it was extended for another six months, adding that the entire project should be completed in March, this year.

Advancing reasons for the extension, he cited excessive rainfalls, delay to handover the project site to the contractors, and delay on the part of government to meet its own 10 percent of the financial commitment, among others several other factors.

Rumours were on FBC campus that there was a plan for the BADEA project to construct three male hostels and one female hostel, but the contractors have only constructed one female hostel.

Asked to make clarification on that rumour, the project manager said it was false, stating that they were currently constructing the four additional hostels. He noted that they decided to relocate the three male hostels to the FBC land at Leicester because of the topography of the land that was given to them for such purpose.

“If we would have attempted to construct the male hostels on the land that was earlier allocated to us, we would have only been able to construct one because of the bad nature of it. But since no one has asked to know, they have been alleging that the construction of those male hostels have been cancelled by the contractors,” he explained.

He said one of the challenges they were faced with was that authorities at the port were requesting that they pay for the clearance of goods.

The project manager said there was a defect liability period of 12 months and that  after the official handing over of the facilities to the FBC authorities, the contractors would maintenance anything that get destroyed during that period.

While FBC campus is currently  suffering acute water  supply ,Mr. Kanu said they were installing tanks that could take over one million littres of water to various spots on campus.

“We have already identified two water sources which include the dams at Leicester and Gloucester communities. These dams will supply water directly to FBC campus and that would ease the current water constraint. But our challenge now is that one of the dams at Gloucester community is being filled with filth, the surrounding trees have been cut down, and people are now constructing houses very close to the dam,” he explained.

He said they have imported 18 containers which comprised water and sanitation (WATSAN) facilities, but that they were yet to be cleared at the port.

Highlighting the project successes, he told Concord Times that the 40-bed clinic has almost been completed, hostels rehabilitated and the buildings of geology and physics have been handed over in December 2018, among others.