Liberty Party (LP) political leader Cllr. Charles Brumskine has called for the absolute ban on visas being issued at Roberts International Airport (RIA) to ensure that anyone arriving in Liberia is duly vetted.
Cllr. Brumskine in a statement yesterday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia said that nobody entering Liberia on a visitor’s visa must have his/her stay extended beyond the original period granted.
“If it becomes necessary for a visitor’s stay to be extended, the decision to extend it should not be made by the Bureau of Immigration & Nationalization alone, or any other single agency of Government, but by a committee consisting of representatives of each of the agencies that make up the joint security,” he suggested.
He said the recent waves of terror activities around the world have highlighted the expanding reach of global terrorism and its international terror network which has expanded and become more deadly.
He further proposed that a person entering Liberia on a visitor’s visa should not be allowed to adjust his/her status to that of a resident, and the requirement that a person applying for a visa to enter Liberia must provide the name of a host, with a verifiable address and telephone number.
“Unless the host is self-employed, the address and telephone number of the employer of the visitor’s host should be carefully enforced and anyone intending to work in Liberia should be allowed admission into the country only if she/he is in possession of a Resident Visa,” he said.
He said all legal requirements, such as the local employer applying to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a Resident Visa, and the issuance of a Labor Clearance by the Ministry of Labor, as a condition preceding the granting of a Resident Visa must have been complied with.
“The capacity of Consulate Sections of Liberian Missions abroad should be enhanced to ensure thorough vetting of visa applicants.” He said, “Officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) should be retrained to specifically handle terrorism and border patrol officers within the BIN should be trained and assigned to patrol the borders.”
Luggage, including carry-on of all passengers entering and leaving Liberia should be vigorously inspected at every port and border control point, he said.
Cllr. Brumskine said religious leaders, including Christians, Muslims and traditional leaders should begin informative and educational programs that teach that true religions don’t support violence and that no one should encourage, assist, or acquiesce in terrorist activities.
He also proposed that Liberia should work in collaboration with the Mano River Union States of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Sierra Leone to initiate discussions on joint education/awareness programs for residents of border communities about terrorism, how to protect themselves, their neighbors and those in neighboring countries.
“Terrorism is no longer about atrocious violence and evil in some distant lands like Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, or even East Africa. It now occurs in our neighborhood, within the West African region, with nearly half of all deaths caused by terrorism in 2015 occurring in the ECOWAS theatre of operations,” he said.
He named Nigeria as being on the frontline of this battle, and Mali, the latest victim.
As we have seen, he said “victims are of all religions, all races, all nationalities, all ethnic groups, all ages, and all socioeconomic classes. No one gets a free pass, and we will all bear the burden unless we work together to ensure that we are all safe.”