Following Fatu Radio discussion program on serious anomalies at the Gambia College, State Security agents from the National Intelligence Agency have been visiting the college campus to specifically fish out supposed informers.
Earlier on, the College students threatened to go on a strike to protest openly against what they called “the bad conditions in the campus and also the inadequate and substandard quality facilities at the college.”
The information on the “bad conditions” at the School of Public health, Gambia College, was relayed on Fatu Radio following adamant demands by the students themselves to use the information to reach a wider audience. But no sooner had Fatu Radio relayed the story on its popular Today’s Show Program, than the State Security jumped into action to potentially identify those it accused of trying to fan trouble in the country. The College authorities also summoned the students to sternly warn them over their threat to go on strike.
Fatu Radio can confirm that the NIA in particular has now permanently imbedded its agents within the students to spy on them.
In addition, a team of panellists was immediately deployed at the College to begin investigations into conditions highlighted in the Fatu Radio program about the students’ claims.
One of the students who reached Fatu Radio said: “so far, we are not aware of details of the investigation by the panel but what we know for certain is that after our concerns became public, Solomon P.S. Jatta, the Acting head of School appeared in our class with the story published by the Fatu Radio, completely panicked and dejected about the factual nature of the story.
Mr Jatta according to our informant, asserted that the final year students after three years at the school of public health, will never graduate, because the information given to Fatu Radio was attracting a very security interest from Sate authorities. He warned that the threat by students to go on strike is grave and could threaten national security which the government and indeed the College would not take lightly.
However one thing good that has so far come out of the threats by the students to go on strike is that the Ministry of Health through Gambia College has promptly paid all pending student stipend.
But one of the students who spoke to Fatu Radio immediately after receiving his accumulated stipend said he is not optimistic that the government will be regular with paying their stipend on time confirming claims that the Gambia government is broke.
The issue of unpaid stipend is just one worry for the students. One of our sources said the students are also worried about the way marks are awarded. As one student put it: “what bothers us most is about our results. I even learnt that some of the courses that we had been examined on cannot be found anywhere. No such record exists anywhere in the school. Our last year summer practical reports were never marked; I wonder how sometimes Solomon and the Office of the Registrar forge marks for students.
“As the summer practical weighs 5 credit hours, we don’t know how such marks are awarded, because some of our last year’s practical assessment forms are still with our supervisors in the various units where we were attached. Before the practical, assessments forms were distributed to various units that students are to be sent, but to our utmost surprise we still learnt that some if not all are never collected by the head of school for computation,” the concerned students said.
The students also accused their lecturers of favouritism where some students are awarded marks which they don’t deserve. One of one sources said: “we consider both Jallow and Solomon who are senior members of the school authorities to be very unfair and take preferences in treating students. Because the college policy’s clearly stated that a student cannot be promoted to a higher level if he/she fails to attain a minimum Grade Point Average of 2.5.”
The students finally warned that the Ministry of Health has to intervene in the situation of the students at the School of Public Health at the Gambia College. One of the students said: “we are awaiting for the ministry of Health to intervene, otherwise no one can stop us from causing riots if immediate remedy is not taken.”
The students finally thanked Fatu Radio for providing them the platform to air their views and concerns on issues that affect them. “We are short of words to congratulate you about your publication and people are satisfied about the quality of news you publish. Everybody trust your information and it is true that you maintain the factual accuracies of your sources. May Allah bless your media and continue to protect you in your endeavour to promote freedom of speech,” he said.