The Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda has started a familiarization tour to agencies and departments under his Ministry’s purview. The tour started on Tuesday 30th June 2015 in Freetown with the visit to the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) Headquarters (HQs) respectively. The Minister and entourage were received by the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Correctional Services. The Minister continued his tour to the northern and southern provinces from the 2nd to 4th July 2015 where he visited the SLP North-West Regional HQ, SLCS center, Senior District Officer (SDO) in PortLoko; SLP Divisional HQ, SLCS center, National Fire Force (NFF) HQ and Gbalamuya Sierra Leone/Guinea Border in Kambia District; SLP North-West Regional HQ, SLCS Regional HQ, NFF Regional HQ, Immigration Regional HQ in Makeni City and the SLP International Law Enforcement Academy Bombali District; SLP Divisional HQ, SLCS center and Mile 91 Police Division; and Resident Minister’s Office south, SLP HQ, SLCS center, NFF HQ and Immigration Office in Bo while brief stops were made at Mile 38 checkpoint, Masiaka Police Division, Matotoka checkpoint and Yele Police post.
At the HQs in Freetown, the Minister thanked the leaders and management bodies of the two institutions for the reception accorded him and entourage but told them that the tour was a follow-up to the recommendations made during the validation of the Internal Affairs policy forum and therefore called for collaboration and coordination between his ministry and the agencies. He stressed that collaboration is necessary in order to ensure safety and internal security. He said the tour was meant for acquaintance with the agencies in order to know their problems and to manage the relationship between the ministry and agencies and assured them of continuous interaction as the need arises.
|Hon. J. B. Dauda
The Minister told the agencies that his ministry responsibility is to defend the agencies whenever they have problem or encounter with the public; therefore, the agencies are required to report to the ministry about their major activities. This he said will help the ministry to better defend the agencies in case of any problem. Also, the Minister stated his ministry reporting responsibility to Parliament, Cabinet and to the President on behalf of the agencies.
Minister Dauda cited one of the objectives in the draft policy which gives the agencies operational independence but cautioned them to be neutral in their operations especially the Sierra Leone Police which is in constant touch with the public on a daily basis. He encouraged the institutions to initiate developmental activities and maintain such activities.
Hon. Dauda acknowledge the good work of the agencies particularly the SLP for the maintenance of law and order stressing that since the end of the rebel war in 2002 there has not been a major breakdown of law and order. He noted that minor disturbances are common even in the developed nations but urged the agencies especially the SLP to be vigilant in maintaining law and order.
He thanked the SLP and the SLCS for their financial supports in the fight against Ebola and thanked all the agencies for their efforts towards the EVD fight and extended His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma’s message of appreciation to the agencies in the Ebola fight.
The Internal Affairs Minister replicated the message in Freetown to personnel of the agencies in the provinces. He informed the provincial personnel about the draft Internal Affairs Policy stating that the tour was meant to get first hand information and constraints about the agencies as well as their contributions towards the draft policy.
At the SLP International Law Enforcement Academy Mosongbo, the Minister was taken on a tour by AIG Philip Wellington who showed him various Hydraform block making machines such as Industrial P.B.4 and Domestic used for producing hydraform blocks. He informed the Minister of replicating the production in Bo, Kenema and Kono. The academy has about 212 acres of land and provision of landing for helicopter.
The Minister responding to concern of the inmates assured them of their rights and dignities as enshrined the 2014 Correctional Act. He said the new Act provides for correction and skill training of inmates for usefulness in society after serving their jail terms, he stated the inmates will no longer be subjected to punishment as in the past. He noted as a lawyer he is aware of the constraints of the inmates stating lack of speedy court trial as the main factor responsible for the prolong remand of inmates in correctional centers. He however informed them of the Criminal Procedure Act which prohibits imprisonment for minor offences but makes provision for suspended sentences.
Some of the challenges highlighted by personnel of the agencies include: low salary, lack of vehicles, lack of staff quarters, and lack of training facilities among others. Various recommendations were made ranging from: The inclusion of gender issue to be mainstream in the ministry’s strategic plan, the inclusion of inter-agencies athletic activities, donor/investment conference on SLCS to name but few.
Giving the purpose of the tour, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry Augustine Sahr Sheku said the visit is to strengthen HQ/field relationship, adding that the visit was part of the recommendations made during the validation of the Internal Affairs Policy, and to break barriers and be acquainted with agencies. He maintained that the Minister has a task from the Performance Contract signed by the Office of the President; therefore, the target relates to the agencies and departments under the purview of the ministry. The Minister he said is confronted by the public when critical decisions are taken. He nonetheless thanked the agencies for their participation in the validation forum. He concluded that the meeting was meant to give everybody the opportunity to express their views. Mr. Sheku responding to request by the SLCS leadership called on the management body to provide the ministry with raw materials (information) that will enable the ministry to advocate on their behalf.
Francis Allieu Munu-Inspector General of Police (IGP) expressed happiness for the Minister’s visit and follow-up to the conclusions in the validation forum describing it as good as far as effective change is concern. He informed the team of the decreased crime rate and relative peace in the country. He referred to the Minister’s visit in police term as “management by walking about” emphasizing that such visit will make officers accountable.
The Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services Sampha Bilo Kamara said the visit is a demonstration of the ministry’s living up to its expectation. He informed the Minister of transforming the female section at Pademba Correctional Center to male use.
The Minister’s delegation include: the Assistant inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Peace-Keeping Operations Kalia Edward Sesay, Abdulai Timbo-Director of Operations, Immigration Department, Sampha Bilo Kamara-Director General of SLCS and Lawrence Ngegba-Divisional Officer, National Fire Force. This marks the phase one of the tour.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.