Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Adeniji said UNAMSIL's involvement resulted from the urgent need to repair the damage done by the war. The SRSG lauded the dedication of the Principal of the Polytechnic, Dr. Sandy Bockarie. Dr. Bockarie, the SRSG said, demonstrated sufficient dedication to be worthy of UNAMSIL's trust. "He has not disappointed us," he said.
The SRSG recalled the proposal written by the Principal which was approved by UNAMSIL. He disclosed that the Principal fulfilled his part of the obligation by completing the project on schedule and efficiently.
He said it was remarkable the institution implemented the project without resorting to outside contractors. This consequently reduced the total cost while affording the students and staff the opportunity to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom, the SRSG emphasised.
He disclosed that more students could now be admitted into the Polytechnic with the additional building adding that over the next five years about 1000 additional graduates would have been produced. He called on students of the Polytechnic to see the new facility as a challenge, and assured of UNAMSIL's support in the Sierra Leone's postwar development plans.
The SRSG also thanked the Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Polycarp Azigie, who accompanied him to Kenema, for facilitating the release of five lecturers from Nigeria for the Polytechnic under the Nigerian government Technical Aid Corp program. He said more lecturers would be coming later.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Bockarie said some ex combatants including females would be using the building. "The most effective and efficient reintegration model is one that encourages ex-combatants to go to school," the Principal said.
He thanked the SRSG for his commitment to the school and said he had offered more than his fair share of commitment to our cause. "Even though he is a civilian, the SRSG has contributed so much in bringing an end to a military war," he said.
The Minister for Eastern Region Sahr Filli Faboe had earlier reminded the SRSG of the chieftaincy title that was bestowed on him a week ago. That title, the minister said, meant the whole people of the East now look up to him for direction.
The SRSG and his entourage which included UNAMSIL Chief of Civil Affairs Ishmael Diallo were then given a tour of the new building. Deputy Director of Education South, Paul Joe Lappia represented the Minister of Education. Also present at the ceremony were the Polytechnic Council Chairman, Prof. Nat. G. Kuyembeh and Mayor of Kenema Town Council, Chief Brima Kargbo.
UNAMSIL Headquarters, Mammy Yoko, P. O. Box 5, Freetown, Sierra Leone Tel: 232-22-273-183/4/5 Fax: 232-22-273-189