It is unfortunate that a lot of priority issues are being downplayed by the current government, but is instead spending millions of dollars on vacancies created in the governance system of the state out of greed for power and personal benefits, a national security expert has said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Security Expert Guard Agency of Liberia (SEGAL, Momo T. Cyrus has said that the progress and development of any state, especially ones like Liberia, hinges on three cardinal sectors—security, education and agriculture.
He said in the absence of investing in these key areas development efforts here aim at improving the lives of the people will be bleak.
Mr. Cyrus, a former security expert who served with the National Security Agency (NSA), said the security sector is the backbone of every state. “Without a secured society nothing else falls into place. This is why we have been calling for more investment in the security sector with specific focus on the police,” he said.
The SEGAL boss made these comments over the weekend at a venerable ceremony held in his honors at the Free Pentecostal College (FPC) in Voinjama, Lofa. The college named its Criminal Justice Department, one of three new academic disciplines, in honor of the veteran security officer. The other disciplines are Agriculture and Mass-Communications. The FPC authorities said Mr. Cyrus was selected, out of three candidates, because of his invaluable services in the security sectors as well as his humanitarian works not just in Lofa, but over the country.
. “Education is the bedrock of any society; agriculture does not only bring about food sufficiency but creates jobs for the citizens while security creates the stability for investment, growth and development. Unfortunately government is not investing these areas,” he said.
“Without huge investments in these sectors our country will not have the requisite foundation to develop,” he said.
The SEGAL head, who served as NSA regional commander for Grand Bassa, Margibi and River Cess Counties from 2004-2007, told the audience that the security of the state is fragile and will continue to be until the government takes the security of the state serious by investing more in the sector.
“The manpower of our security apparatuses is a joke in this country. The police, with the largest manpower, are a mere five thousands with a very meager budget. With these, we don’t expect to see the impact of the LNP across the country—therefore, our people are not safe.
He said the number of by elections that have been held and the ones pending, internationally created, are putting a lot of burden on the country is already experiencing economic hardship.
“We are experiencing a lot of wasteful spending in our country, especially on by elections and some personal projects. Our government needs to invest more in the security, education and agriculture sector.
He said that laws need to be enacted to stop people who occupy elective offices from seeking other position while still serving their tenures. “This is unfair and our lawmakers need to act to stop our national coffers from bleeding,” she said.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) eventual pullout from Liberia brought uneasiness among many Liberians and foreign residents with many calling on the government to establish clear priorities in order to ensure stability and progress in the state. Among priority issues that were highly spoken about was investment in the security sector.
Mr. Cyrus, who operates the largest private security firm in the country with four thousands manpower, expressed frustrated that none of the country’s security institutions, in particular the police, are adequately deployed throughout the country. All lack personnel and operating resources. LNP stands at just over 5,100 officers, including 970 women. But 3,858 are deployed in Monrovia and surrounding Montserrado county, leaving only 1,284 officers for the rest of the country.
With a population of an estimated five million people, this means a police officer to every 10,000 people. “This is ridiculous,” he said, adding, “Our country is vulnerable with this low number of manpower and lack of logistics.
Moreover, many police stations in the country lack the requisite logistics to respond to citizen requests.
The LNP’s yearly budget, according to its Inspector General, Patrick Sudue mostly pays for salaries, leaving only $2.5 million for operations. The LNP has seen a reduction in it’s under the new administration. The LNP has US$15,941,116.00 in the 2018-2019 fiscal budget, down from US$18,986,529.00 last year.
Meanwhile, FPC president, Dr. Joseph N. Glenn has said that the college hopes with the introduction of the Criminal Justice discipline will help education the young people about crime and law enforcement in a county that witnesses surge in crimes on a yearly basis.
“We experience a lot of crimes perpetrated by violent people, especially youth. This is one of the many reasons we thought it prudent to introduce this discipline so that we can teach our people the policies involving law enforcement, including all legal measures designed to promote proper implementation, through impartial treatment, as intended by society,”
President Glenn described Mr. Cyrus as a distinguished security expert and a humanitarian who is contributing a lot to the society.