National Security Advisor Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh has cautioned officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) to beware of pirates who hijack ships and demand ransom from their owners.
He made the statement in his keynote address at the program marking the graduation of 250 BIN recruits at the institution’s Sinje Academy, over the weekend.
Dr. Fahnbulleh made reference to the abandoned vessel (Tamaya 1) that was discovered in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, which has created fear among citizens.
“It makes no sense for the people to think that it is the Muslims who contacted the ship in order to bring Boko Haram in the country, because Grand Cape Mount is highly populated by Muslims. But be aware that there are pirates on the continent to carry out their mission,” he said.
He said BIN officers have a major undertaking and with support from government and partners they would provide security and protect Liberia’s borders.
He intoned that as the country is preparing to handle its own security in the wake of the UNMIL drawdown, the security sector should be proactive in handling issues after said drawdown because with the provision of logistics, the security sector will be equipped to handle matters affecting the country.
On the challenges facing the security sector, with special recognition to BIN, Dr. Fahnbulleh said training alone is not sufficient for the kind of security the country needs. He therefore called on partners to improve the security sector by providing education on fingerprinting, libraries with accurate teaching sections and additional training to make it capable for BIN officers to do their work.
He urged the officers to perform to the best of their abilities by investigating all violations, protecting all borders, respecting human rights and be law abiding in the discharge of their duties.
He warned the officers that they will be confronted by hostile and dangerous elements in the discharge of their duties; that they will encounter people who are enemies of the state, and those who come with the intention of bringing destruction.
“That is why we are seeking to provide arms to our officers, because they are the first point of contact and therefore must be well trained,” he stated.
He disclosed that as part of preparations to protect the country, the government would provide BIN with guns to enable them to protect the borders.
“We say to our graduates, you have your colleagues in West Africa; your diplomats have done a very good job of building bridges with your neighboring countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and your officials will have to build up on that friendship,” he said.
Dr. Fahnbulleh said: “We improved Foya Training Academy; we have to put in there a language lab because BIN officers must be able to understand the languages next door.”
He also stated that “There can be no development in any country without security. And be aware of terrorists and pirates as your major responsibilities to save and protect the territory against dangerous people.”
The Assistant Justice and Security Program Director for United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP-Liberia), Marzu Quaye, stated that the 250 graduates were supported by UNDP under the peace and security funds.
“UNDP, in efforts to promote peace and security as part of our mandate, provided sets of uniforms, communications equipment to the BIN to enable it carry out effective communications for border control, and we properly handled the management of the funds,” she said.
Ms. Quaye reassured UNDP’s commitment to supporting and strengthening the peace, security and development for the betterment of the country.