The Commissioner of the Liberia Immigration Service or LIS, Robert Buddy reaffirms government’s commitment to protecting the land, air, and sea borders of the country, noting that in strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations every entry point in Liberia remains closed to the public.
“As you may be aware, the LIS has played a pivotal role to securing all of our entry points across this country, and this action on the part of the LIS is to limit the widespread of the Corona virus which has brought the world on its knees”, says the immigration chief.
Speaking on Prime Morning Drive, a live talk show hosted by Prime FM in Monrovia, Commissioner Buddy however discloses that there are cross border movement of goods to Liberia, but not individuals.
He explains that all vehicles coming into Liberia with goods are discharged or offloaded at the border, saying, “We will take the goods and allow that vehicle to return to wherever country and this is in conformity with the restriction, and the health protocol that the government instituted.”
Liberia shut down its air, land and sea borders in March except for special flights as a result of the novel coronavirus. As of Wednesday, June 03, 2020, the country has recorded 316 total confirmed cases, including 169 active cases, 28 deaths and about 170 recoveries.
He says occupants onboard special flights coming to Liberia are quarantined for 14 days as per health protocol, but “this is not necessarily done all the time and that is because we don’t have the capacity to quarantine huge number of people.” Commissioner Buddy continues that the there are high security restriction at various land borders and ports of entry to minimize spread of the virus.
The Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), formerly the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization (BIN) is charged with the primary responsibility to implement and enforce the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia. Besides, LIS is also governed by the Constitution of Liberia, the ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movements of persons, goods and services within the sub-region, international conventions and laws, among other instruments.
Asked whether Liberia has deported foreigners, he recalls during the administration ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, when he served as Deputy Commissioner for Operations, 25 Ivorian nationals who were involved in illegal activities were turned over to the Ivorian authorities.
At the same time he notes that since the COVID-19 outbreak in Liberia, the LIS has received two batches of deportees from the United States for various crimes, involving six (6) and eight (8) Liberians, respectively, bringing the total to 14.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne