On Thursday, November 26, 2015, the Government of Liberia formally launched a border initiative otherwise known as the Declaration of Liberia, Ivory Coast Cross-border Initiative.
Organized by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development or IREDD, the launch attracted members of the Liberian security apparatus, Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and other civil society Groups, with the aim of strengthening border security, as well as also ensuring that the people in the Mano River Sub region are protected.
It is also intended to influence existing policies and not to point at the negatives of the Government, but to strengthen its efforts toward the realization of its purpose(s).
The launch of the Declaration of the Liberia-Ivory Coast Border Initiative is against the backdrop of the quest for the two governments ( of Liberia and Ivory Coast) for the maintenance of peace and stability already secured in the Mano River Union Basin for the last six to seven years.
While the issue of border security may not only be the prerogative of the Liberian Government, but also Liberians in terms of collaboration, the need for massive public awareness on the role of the people in maintaining peace and security cannot be over-emphasized.
In executing such massive awareness to provide a clear understanding of the foregoing, complete openness considering the necessary collaborations with the media, most especially the electronic media and community-based approach, must interplay.
In view of the foregoing, a full utilization of dramas, jungles, as well as spot messages, among others, in the various Liberian vernaculars and simple ‘Liberian English’ must take precedence, and that all aspects of border security as it relates to the role of the people, as well as collaboration must be emphasized on a daily basis.
Additionally, towards the achievement of the aforementioned, the Liberian authorities must be very effective and efficient in ensuring capacity-building not only in terms of training, but the necessary logistics, incentives and shelter for security personnel assigned at the various border points not only with the Ivory Coast, but Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The government must not only wait for the intervention of international organizations or friendly nations in ensuring logistical support or shelter; it must take the first steps, considering the country’s resources available to fast-track and foster such initiatives so that others can see the urgent need and follow.
The launch of the Declaration of the Liberia-Ivory Coast Border Initiative is laudable, but the authorities of Liberia must be challenged to provide the enabling environment of border security to work efficiently and effectively in the interest of national security and stability as neighboring Ivory Coast is currently during.