In an effort to enhance peace and stability in Liberia, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Thursday November 26, 2015 formally launched the Declaration Liberia and Ivory Coast Cross Borders- Initiative.
Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf said the issue of borders was discussed in March 2015 in Ghana, considering methods needed to put in place for border control.
The program, held under the auspices of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development or IREDD, brought together members of the security sectors, Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and other civil society Groups.
Minister Sirleaf said alarmed that citizens of Bourkiina Faso were using the Ivoirian border to enter Liberia to plant cocoa, coffee and others. He also emphasized the need for cross-border trade to be seriously monitored owing to the fact that women trading across the borders continued to be exploited and also harassed.
He said the Declaration of the Ivorian and Liberian cross border signed in Ghana, was an implementation of the procedure of those crossing for business purposes.
According to the West Africa Program Director conciliation Resource, Janet A. Mohammed, the Declaration is to support countries of the Mano River Union Sub region affected by conflict.
She noted that the Border security is to strengthen the Country and also ensure that the people in the Mano River Sub region are protected, indicating that the purpose is to influence existing policy and not to point at the negatives of the Government, but to strengthen its efforts.
The Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public safety, Atty. Frederick L.M. Gbemie, added that the MRU has played an important role to secure the peace and stability in the region, stressing that for the last 6-7 years, the Government of Liberia’s policy is to increase peace.
Immigration Commissioner Lemuel Reeves warned that Security was not the business of Government of Liberia alone, but also the prerogative of people.
He emphasized the need for the Liberian people to work to maintain the peace in the Country as UNMIL draws down.
He said BIN officers at the various borders are trained to work in collaboration with people at the various borders, as the bureau was prepared to work with everyone to ensure the maintenance of peace in the country.
Daniel Boakai – a DPD from Lofa County, said the security personnel at the borders in Lofa were abandoning their duties due to the absence of shelter for them.
He said as a result, the borders remain abandoned at night. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Sirleaf has emphasized the urgent need for the issue of shelter for border security to be seriously addressed very soon.
By Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by George Barpeen