Swift intervention by border security officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) which prevented illegal entry of over 1,000 Sierra Leoneans into Liberia last week is worth commending.
LIS Commissioner Col. Lemuel Reeves narrated to journalists that some Sierra Leonean residing in Liberia decided to return to their country to participate in the March 7, 2018 Presidential election.
But after the election, instead, over a 1,000 Sierra Leoneans converged at the Liberian border, desiring to enter here without travel documents. Commissioner Reeves further explained that among the huge crowd, including women, children and men, less than 300 possessed travel papers.
The LIS boss detailed that after thorough briefing from his officers at the border, he immediately ordered them not to allow the illegal immigrants from Sierra Leone, numbering more than 700 into Liberia. Only those with legitimate travel documents were permitted to enter Liberia.
Liberia with a very porous border, imagine how many illegal immigrants violate our borders on a daily basis. Our border security officers lack requisite logistics to enable them effectively man the borders.
Last week’s incident at the border with neighbouring Sierra Leone was promptly handled because it occurred at the main border at Bo Waterside. The Sierra Leoneans would have succeeded entering here if they had used the forest and other most porous areas, thank God they were intercepted.
Liberia is a member of several regional bodies such as the Mano River Union and ECOWAS. But this does not mean foreign nationals should violate our borders at will. While we welcome our West African brothers and sisters, they must come with all relevant travel papers that would legitimize their entry here.
As Commissioner Reeves noted, how could we have established whether criminals, terrorists and other troublemakers weren’t among those Sierra Leoneans that were illegally trying to enter our country.
We urge government to adequately equip our national security officers, especially, immigration officers, who man our various borders to enable them to monitor and vigorously screen those entering here.
We are fully aware how armed terrorists are creating mayhem in Burkina Faso, with the latest attack just occurring recently at the French Embassy in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou and targeted the nation’s military headquarters, killing at least eight security forces.
Armed terrorists are creating instability in West Africa, attacking Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, respectively with loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties characterised by terror and a sense of insecurity.
We should not allow such incident to happen in Liberia. No, No, in times like these we should not, and must not take chances with our borders, for the Holy Bible reminds that we sleep, the enemies come and sow seeds of discord.