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Honourable Vice President
Honourable Chief Justice
Cabinet Ministers
His Worship the Mayor of Freetown
Members of Parliament
Your Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Mr. Pro-Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone
Principals of Constituent Colleges of the University of Sierra Leone
Senior Academic and Administrative Staff of FBC
Student Representatives
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

On 18 December 2004, we were at this prestigious campus for the conferment of Degrees and award of Diplomas and Certificates. Today, we are here to perform another very special ceremony, the formal opening of the newly constructed Multi-Purpose Building, which will house, among other facilities, additional classrooms and lecture theatres. It is always my delight to identify with the ideals of the University, and I am particularly grateful for the opportunity and the warm reception accorded me during my visits to this Campus.

Government will continue to put great emphasis on education in this country. As more and more of our children enrol at our schools, colleges and university, far more resources are now allocated to education than ever before. Government provides over 80% of the funding for tertiary education. This is unlike many other countries of the world where the private sector and the immediate beneficiaries, namely, the students, assume a substantial proportion of the cost of this category of education.

While we continue to place education at the top of our priorities, I must caution that no Government can always allocate adequate resources to satisfy the increasing needs of the education sector. I therefore commend the university authorities for the internal initiatives they are pursuing to complement Government's effort by providing facilities that will enhance the provision of quality education in this country.

The facilities that are provided today do not belong to the present day students alone. They belong, as well, to your compatriots after you, and generations to come. The wilful destruction of these facilities will deprive future students from usage. I, therefore, admonish all those who will access the facilities of this newly constructed Multi-Purpose Building and all other facilities to use them proudly and judiciously.

Ladies and Gentlemen, failure in the past to plan for expanding tertiary education facilities partly explains why only about 1% of the population can access higher education. As our student population expands, there should be a corresponding expansion of facilities. This Multi-Purpose Building should serve as a major step in the physical expansion of the university. In commending the leadership of Fourah Bay College, I would also encourage other tertiary institutions to embark on the physical development of facilities in order that more and more of our compatriots will gain access to higher education. I do so with the strong conviction that education is a great asset, and therefore, it behoves us all to ensure the provision of quality education to the people of this country.

I wish to express Government's unreserved appreciation to Prof. Strasser-King, his team and all those who contributed in one way or the other towards the realization of this laudable venture. Erecting an edifice of such imposing stature, which will significantly ease the twin problems of classroom and office accommodation is no mean achievement.

On that note, I would also encourage past students of the university to forge partnerships for the development of their alma mater. This is the trend the world over, and it is high time this trend were replicated here in Sierra Lone. In Sierra Leone, a high percentage of both private and public sector managers, including politicians had the opportunity to attend one of the constituent colleges of the University of Sierra Leone. Alumni support, no doubt, will offer substantial support to the worthy endeavours of the university.

It is essentially for this reason that I wish to commend the College authorities for the noble step they have taken to use this occasion to honour a number of their past senior academic staff by naming prominent campus buildings after them. There is no better way to be remembered than for a worthy cause. Let me on behalf of the University, Government, and on my own personal behalf take this opportunity to congratulate all of you who have been so honoured.

I would also like to use this occasion to address the students on the development of cultism and the threat it has posed to social life in our tertiary institutions. Everybody has the right to belong. But we should remain mindful of the existence and rights of others.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

The recent spate of violence and cultism that has come to characterize students union politics and social life is a cause for concern, if for no other reason than the fact that it foreshadows the horrendous violence into which our once peaceful society was plunged during the senseless rebel war that almost tore our nation apart. I have always maintained that partisan political objectives should be sought after and achieved by peaceful means. Nobody has the right to use violence to impose his/her views on others. Political violence should remain part of the "old" Sierra Leone. The "new" Sierra Leone has to be violence-free, as demonstrated during the national and local Government elections in 2002 and 2004 respectively. As future leaders, it is your responsibility to uphold and maintain the principle of good neighbourliness and to build on the democratic values we are currently pursuing. Perhaps, I should remind you about the existence of a Peace Studies Department at this University, and entreat you to make use of it.

Having said this, and considering the anxiety to inspect and immediately start using the complex, it is now my pleasure to declare this Multi-Purpose Building open, and to endorse the names of campus buildings as proposed.

Thank you very much for your attention and God bless you all.