The opposition Liberty Party has recommended several strategies to the Government of Liberia to prevent or combat terrorism giving the waves of terror attacks in West Africa.
Speaking in a news conference hosted at his party’s headquarters Wednesday on the Old Road in Monrovia, the political leader of the Liberty Party, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine recommended an absolute ban on the issuance of Airport Visas, stressing that they reduce, if not eliminate, any possibility of vetting those who are admitted into the country.
He also recommended that except in extreme and absolutely necessary cases, no one entering Liberia on a Visitor’s Visa should have his/her stay extended, beyond the original period granted.
Brunskine added that even if it becomes necessary for the stay of a visitor to be extended, the decision to extend should not be made by the Bureau of Immigration & Nationalization or BIN 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.
The United Nations Security Council on Friday, November 20, 2015, adopted an anti-terrorism resolution. The 15-to-0 vote at the Security Council was followed by an Alert Notice issued on November 23 by the U.S. State Department, warning American citizens of possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.
According to Cllr. Brumskine, 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, saying unless the host is self-employed, the address and telephone number of the employer of the visitor’s host, should be carefully enforced.
He noted that terrorism is no longer about atrocious violence and evil in some distant land, like Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, or even East Africa; it now occurs in our neighborhood—within the West African region.
“Nearly half of all death caused by terrorism in 2015 occurred in the ECOWAS theatre of operations, with Africa’s most populous state, Nigeria, being on the frontline of this battle, and Mali, the latest victim”, he pointed out.
Brumskine, who contested in two successive elections on the ticket of the Liberty Party, also added that anyone intending to work in Liberia should be allowed admission into the country only if s/he is in possession of a Resident Visa, including 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.
“The capacity of Consulate Sections of Liberian missions abroad” he says, “should be enhanced to ensure thorough vetting/screening of visa applicants. Some officers of the Emergency Response Unit or ERU should be retrained to specifically handle terrorism. Border Patrol Officers within the BIN should be trained and assigned to patrol the borders. Luggage, including carry-ons, of all passengers, entering and leaving, should be vigorously inspected at every port and border control point.”
He added that the cooperation and understanding of all government officials should be solicited by the President, and security officers assigned at the airport and the ground staff, including employees of airlines should be properly screened, and then searched every time they report to work prior to being allowed on the port premises or allowed access to airplanes, ground equipment, food, passenger luggage and cargo, among other measures to avert any eventuality that could spark terrorist attack and instability in Liberia.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne