Lethargic Immigration Officers at Gbalamuya: NRA and Police brace up security
Often, flying rumors tend to be fabricated. But situation at the border post (Gbalamuya) in the Kambia district, north-west of the country is otherwise, likely proven right. This is followed by a close visit and investigation by this medium to that part of the country, few days ago. (Photo: An usual thorough search on vehicles at the Gbalamuya border)
With regards the Al-Shabab terrorist threat to desalt Sierra Leone, travelers and residents, as well as natives within and around Kambia district have vociferously expressed concerns over what many referred to as the “lethargy of our assigned Immigration Officers to that part of Sierra Leone.
The people’s worries encapsulate the high concentration of the Immigration Officers to massively extorting without proper documentation checks, especially on foreign immigrants into the country. The Officers are otherwise noticed to have less to do with alarming Al-Shaba security threats.
This reporter’s visit to that part of the country discovered that all of the border departments at Gbalamuya are to some extent, much intact and hard working through the combined pro-activity of the newly transferred National Revenue Authority (NRA) Tax Collector-Hannah Jalloh and Assistant Inspector General of Police- North-west, F.U.K Darboe.
In other words, the pro-activity of the new collector-Hanna Jalloh has positively changed things at the notoriously corrupt border post, despite the people’s accounts. Investigations account that since her transfer to the Gbalamuya Joint Border Post barely three months ago, there have been relentless and constant “daily on-the-spot-checks on vehicles, goods, food items and human searches ’’. Such was never happening; investigations reveal.
Part of the some travelers’ accounts on the current security status at Gbalamuya, Mariatu Kamara, Alhaji Jalloh, Fatmata Barrie and Sam Deen have expressed similar concerns and worries over what they described as the lethargy of the Immigration officers and their dormant dispensation of duty, regardless the current security threats. The four travelers explained that, it remain worrisome and at the same time, a serious concern over the manner at which the Immigration officers extorts from foreign immigrants without proper documentation check. The concerned Sierra Leoneans suggest a better enough solution by concerned authorities, either by changing the head of that department or otherwise and before things get worse or too late for reaction.
However, many have further strongly opined that, if all is left with the immigration hierarchy for decision taking or masking, no serious action could be taken on behalf of the state and the people because, as per the people’s accounts, corruption chronically start right from the immigration head quarters in Freetown, down to its circulations, and as the case may be in the Sierra Leone Police Force.
Nevertheless, getting the sides of some Immigration Officers at Gbalamuya, including the head-Mr. Fofanah, no response was claimed by Officials. The Officers rashly bulldozed that they were not in school and were not in place to answer questions from any quarter. One of them threatened to file a complaint against this reporter, to Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Mr. Kelvin Lewis, for piling pressure on them, one of the disgruntled Immigration Officer loudly challenged.
By Alie Mozart Sesay
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