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Security lapses at checkpoints in Margibi

Investigation by this paper has observed the improper inspection of motor vehicles by the police at two major checkpoints in Margibi County, namely the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) and the Borlorla Junction checkpoints respectively.

Inspection by police officers in these areas includes checking of vehicles for harmful substances and observation of passengers or occupants onboard. This also requires passengers to get out of the vehicle and undergo temperature test and washing hands before continuing their journeys.

The inspection has been mandated by the Government of Liberia and is being enforced at all checkpoints in the country to ensure that people travelling from one place to another here do not transport the Ebola Virus or other harmful substances.

Our Margibi County correspondent, who visited and spent some time at these checkpoints, observed there are temperature testing machines, hands washing buckets and individuals to conduct the temperature test but all of the above are improperly done.

Officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization assigned at these checkpoints are mainly focused on collecting little sum of money from drivers rather than properly checking the vehicles. Besides officials’ vehicles, there are many private and commercial vehicles that are allowed to pass at these checkpoints without checking.

Vehicles mainly allowed to pass are those who pay money in place of going thru checking and temperature test of occupants. Sometimes passengers disembark and angrily engaged the security personnel at the checkpoint for letting some vehicles just pass while others are stopped for checking.

Moreover, there are some vehicles without license plates that are allowed to drive thru without inspection. Meanwhile, some residents of the county are now saying that the attitudes the security these checkpoints seriously undermine government’s effort to curb the spread of Ebola.

When contacted, the general supervisor of the Borlorla Junction Checkpoint confirmed the practices but blamed it on Liberians not respecting law and order.  Officer Fofana, who was busy inspecting vehicles, said sometimes drivers forced their way through the checkpoint.

“I am busy now and I have no chance to talk to you now about the matter, but just stand and watch the activities, anything you see will answer your question”. And so the lapses unfolded as our correspondent observes with serious efforts to put drivers in check. By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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