By Foday Moriba Conteh
Citizens Advocacy Network (CAN), a civil society organization that has been working towards strengthening and expanding democracy, human rights, the rule of law, has informed the Office of the Inspector General of Police that it intends to stage a peaceful demonstration on the 5th March, 2020 from Hill Station right through King Harman Road to Savage Street and end up at the Cotton Tree in Freetown. This disclosure was made in a letter dated 2nd March, 2020 and addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Dr. Richard Moigbeh.
They maintained that pursuant to Section 17(1) of the 1965 Public Order Act, it is imperative to officially write the Inspector General of Police to notify them in order to assure them of their security.
According to CAN, the said peaceful procession is intended to call the attention of authorities and public officials to the denial of the right to quality education of over one thousand (1000 +) young Sierra Leonean students on Government scholarships that are studying at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Officials of the CSO stated that these young students have missed six months in the academic calendar and for them it clearly appears that all steps to engage the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education have proven futile.
The Citizens Advocacy Network was approached by the affected students whose frantic moves to appeal to the authorities involved in both written and one-on-one dialogue were all unsuccessful.
In a letter written by their Network as a responsible civil society organization and directed to the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education calling for an amicable resolution of the issue was treated with disdain. The officials further noted that they are very cautious of the recommendations captured by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and want to raise a constructive voice against breeding disgruntled youths and violating their right to education with a harsh breath of inconceivable indifference and that they are equally tax payers stressing how it is no sin to develop their competencies or skills for national development.
Against such a backdrop they informed the Office of the Inspector General of Police to stage a peaceful demonstration over what they consider as a display of gross indifference and to send a message to the powers that be and the international community of such a human rights violation.
They said that the country’s democracy makes provision for right to freedom of expression and procession stating that they believe it is the duty of the office of the Inspector General of Police to protect citizens’ rights in the democratic space.