National Security is, no doubt, the primary concern of any well-meaning government worldwide.
In the absence of security, peace and stability are threatened at all levels of the state.
When former Public Works Minister Kofi Woods raised the issue of neglect of the security network at our country borders with countries of the Mano River Union during his oration for the 58th Anniversary of Armed Forces Day on February 11, it became a serious concern to us.
We are in total agreement with the Armed Forces Day Orator that as they maintain peace and peace with neighboring Guinea, Sierra Leone and La Cote’ d’Ivoire, the poor and deplorable conditions under which the men and women of the Joint Security forces deployed at the various borders work are just unbearable.
Visiting these border points around the country, one would observe that the men and women of these security apparatus are not adequately paid and are kept in deplorable houses with no benefits. The uniforms they wear are even representative of such a nation as Liberia.
Realizing the foregoing, one would conclude that most of our problems, including cross-border crimes, illegal trade and commerce and bribery are a result of poor border management.
It is no secret that in the absence of attractive and timely salaries, as well as good benefits and care, the men and women of the joint security network would execute their duties and functions to the best of their abilities in the interest of the nation.
While we do believe that their operations at our borders must be characterized by the highest degree of patriotism as they pledged, their well-being must not also be compromised as it is currently.
Unless heads of these security agencies are disclaiming budgetary allotments for benefits, uniforms, as well as accommodations, among others for our border security guards, that could an issue not only with them, but the national budget committee and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. From all indications, these allotments are all under-written by the government, even though it may not be up to ‘hundred-percent’- so then, what’s actually happening?
Apparently, the President of Liberia is being made to believe that all is well at our border points, when our brothers and sisters manning these borders are paid adequately and don’t have good uniforms; and no good accommodations.
As Orator Kofi Woods recommended on Armed Forces Day on February 11, the need for the Government of Liberia, through the Presidency, to address these unbearable conditions as a matter of urgency in order for the men and women manning the borders to serve the country professionally cannot be over-emphasized.
If necessary, a monitoring mechanism must be put in place to ensure that the proper environment is created so that the men and women manning our borders are always properly attired and active on duty in the interest of the country.
This is our plea in support to the call by the Armed Forces Day Orator for the necessary conditions favorable to the professional operations of the men and women of the security apparatus at our border points across the country.