Immigration Commissioner Cllr. Lemuel Reeves has assured Liberians that officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) are fully prepared to handle the country’s security as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) draws down by June 30.
Commissioner Reeves gave the assurance yesterday in Monrovia when he addressed the Ministry of Information regular press briefing on Capitol Hill.
“The BIN is a major player in the transition plan of UNMIL’s drawdown and handing over of full security responsibility to the government. It continues to work with government security sector and international partners to initiate reforms to maintain the country’s peace,” Reeves confirmed.
He said the BIN has been involved with capacity-building of its staff locally and internationally with the support of Liberia’s international partners.
Commissioner Reeves underscored the need for BIN officers who will be performing functions previously assigned to UNMIL over the years, to have the requisite skills, capacities, knowledge and expertise to carry out their expected responsibilities.
In the area of logistics, Commissioner Reeves said, “Since 2014, the government had purchased 34 rough terrain motorbikes for BIN officers that are assigned nationwide to enhance their respective operational capacity.”
Apart from the motorbikes, he said four pickups were purchased by the government and assigned to the BIN.
According to Commissioner Reeves, from 2009 to 2016, about 179 officers were trained at the Ghana Immigration Training School and Training Academy in basic immigration formalities.
Between 2013 and 2016, the bureau recruited over 750 personnel who were trained in investigation techniques; law and arrest procedures; laws of arrest; search and seizure evidence; the Liberian Constitution; basic human rights, Commissioner Reeves said. Those training courses, he said, were part of security reforms designed to increase the personnel’s competencies on the job.
“Between 2013 and 2015, we recruited 501 officers, trained them and subsequently deployed them in the various counties. Through the UNMIL quick impact project, hundreds of the officers were trained in other areas such as fraud detection, passenger profiling and border management,” Reeves told journalists yesterday.
In addition to progress the Bureau has made, the BIN is developing a five-year strategic plan, policies for administration, designed to strengthen the institution and put into place systems that will help enhance the officers’ capacities in their respective assignments.
“Authorities of BIN have held a series of meetings with the alien communities to strategize ways to reduce illegal residence and create awareness as to their legal responsibilities under the Liberian laws, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols, as well as the ones governed by the African Union (AU),” Reeves said.
The BIN has a statutory mandate to protect and manage the various borders, monitor the entrance of aliens into the country and the exits and entrances of Liberians as well as ensure that non-Liberians who reside in the country do so on the basis of the law.