Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph NyumahBoakai, has challenged newly recruited officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the National Fire Service to put the country first in their respective duties.
“You newofficers, today marks the turning point in our national commitment to take up the challenge in the wake of UNMIL drawdown.Your graduation ceremony here today is to strengthen government’s desire to rebuild the security of the country so as to build the level of confidence that attracts trade and investment in the country”, he said.
Vice President Boakai spoke on Saturday, September 12, when he represented President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the joint graduation ceremony of new recruits of the two security agencies at the Camp Biago Training Academy in Sinje Town, Garwula District,Grand Cape Mount County in western Liberia.
The joint security program brought together members of the 53rdLiberian Legislature, the cabinet, members of the Diplomatic Corps, local authorities, and development partners. The Vice President indicated that the graduation of the recruits marked a new and very helpful development that goes to enhancing the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization’s ability to properly police the various border posts.
He said record shows that Liberia has approximately 176 border points among which only 45 are officially manned and patrolled, noting, “This means much is left to be desire in the area of securing our territory.” He told the graduates that their certification augments government’s national efforts in meeting that demand, saying,“It is you that will provide safety for our people when UNMIL leaves; people looks up to you for the danger that will come; it is your performance at various borders that speaks for you.”
He said realizing the huge challenges at the various borders; government is committed to strengthening capacity of the security forces along with addressing issues of accommodation and logistics to enhance quality of performance.
According to him, current statistics show that the current strength of the BIN is about 1,120, adding that majority of this number appears to be dead weight, either due to long service, age, low capacity or physical challenge.
“We need to give consideration to retiring old staff hand-in- hand with accelerating recruitment of better qualified and resourceful officers into your ranks.” The Vice President said government is pleased with the training at Camp Biago and as a result, a MOU was signed among the Police, Immigration and Fire Service which has translated into such great opportunity to successfully enhance the professional capacity of Immigration officers and firefighters in the country.
He praised authorities of both security entities for being foresighted in bringing together the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and coordination among their men. VP Boakai disclosed that from January to July, 2015 there were 153 fire outbreaks with three deaths, 2,323 occupants displaced and properties value at US$1,607,048.35 destroyed.
He the challenged the 73 fire service personnel, who graduated, to justify all the time and resources that have been invested in them, saying, “Yours is the challenge to utilize the skills acquired to respond to these recurrent outbreaks of fire which are attributable to human action by commission or omission.”
By Lewis S. Teh- Edited by Jonathan Browne