Thirty Customs officers under the sponsorship of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) have begun a 3-month tactical and professional training section at the Liberia National Police Academy to prepare them for effective and efficient work at strategic ports of entry across the country.
The training comes following a memorandum of understanding signed between the LRA and the Liberia National Police to provide a professional lesson section and physical training for the Customs Officers to prepare them for better performance.
“Despite scarce resources, the LRA could not allow its vision to train its Customs Officers to die. We have been on it for some time now doing the paperwork. Today, it has come to fruition that we have our men and women here undergoing the training we want them to have so they can perform better because when the Customs performs better, we will generate the needed revenue that will help to meet up with the development needs of the country,” LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah said at the opening of the training.
“Even renovating the infrastructures here at this academy will require having people who will be professional and collect the needed revenues,” LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah said at the opening of the training,” Mr. Nah.
The training according to Saa Saamoi, Commissioner of Customs, is a continual process that another group is expected to come after the first 30 recruits that comprise 25 men and five women. The Class 1 recruits, all suited in green fetes, are to attend class and perform physical exercises daily from now to June, and by the performance of this first group the LRA Commissioner said they will be impressed to continue the training sequentially.
Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi recalled that Customs was established in 1952 and has a history of participating in security operations with the Liberia Frontier Force (LFF), the first military force to be established in Liberia in 1908 that is now replaced by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
After Liberia’s brutal war, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) along with other international partners under the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiated a framework to train the Liberia National Police, the Armed Forces of Liberia, and others, but Commissioner Saamoi said Customs was left out of the training and therefore most officers serving there do not have the needed physical and professional training.
Though the recruits have some professional backgrounds in other areas, Mr. Saamoi said where they find themselves is equally a specialized area with a special training requirement that they need to be acquainted with, and therefore the training is essential for the Customs officers if they would perform better to meet the government’s expectation.
The Customs Commissioner disclosed that the training is aimed at building the capacities of the officers to man bordering points to counter illicit goods entering and counter every act that may undermine the collection of lawful revenue for the government.
He said that besides the training at the Police Academy, Customs Officers stand to benefit from other regional training as growth and development continue at a fast-moving pace in the world now.
Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue, also witnessed the opening of the training. In his motivational words to the recruits, Col. Sudue first cautioned, “No one of you, whoever was in a ranking position, has that rank anymore. As long as you are at this academy, you need to be disciplined and obey training officers here.”
Col. Sudue added that training makes one versatile and that recruits should take advantage of it to demonstrate politeness in line with the ethical and professional standard required of them as trained officers.
He motivated them to be courageous to undergo the training to make an impact by setting examples that will make them different from others who are without the training, noting, “Education not about the size of a person; it is how impactful a person’s education makes on society. Some may be here showing their pomposity and articulating well, but they cannot make an impact with their education on others and the society. Instead, there is a cool person here who doesn’t talk or boast, but his or her education can impact people and that’s the true essence of education.”
In view of this assertion, the Police Inspector General said LRA Commissioner-General Thomas Doe Nah was making an impact with his education acquired from both Liberia and the Harvard University in the United States by not holding it onto himself but creating the avenue for others including the recruits to have.
“If he were some people, he wouldn’t arrange with us through an MOU to have you trained, but he wants others to have the education he goes, and so he has allowed you to come here to get both physical and professional training to collect revenue that will help us to have our pay on time,” Col. Sudue said.
Police Commissioner, Jartu K. Golafale, also read the course outline required for the training and cautioned recruits to demonstrate discipline as without discipline recruits cannot just pass through any means but meet all requirements needed.