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Basse NAM Talks Tough Against Immigration Check Points

Apr 14, 2008, 7:01 AM | Article By: By: Baboucarr Senghore & Abba Gibba

Contributing to the motion on the adjournment debate last Wednesday, Hon. Sellu Bah, National Assembly Member for Basse, reiterated his disgust and dismay over what he termed the multiplicity of immigration check points, particularly on the road from Barra to Basse. He opined that the sheer number of check points are causes of waste of precious time to the people using the roads, accusing immigration officers of making life difficult for Gambians and non-Gambians alike.

Hon. Bah, who raised the same concern at the National Assembly some time last year, lamented that ever so often officers manning not-far-apart posts would cause travelers to alight vehicles and make them stay there for hours on end for very flimsy reasons. "I want to cry again in this National Assembly, when our people come home from Europe and other parts of the world, they are not harassed at the airport; they are not harassed in Banjul. But the moment they cross over to Barra, they are harassed all over in every check point.

"We have cried foul all along and it is now high time we say it here. These security officers have really made life difficult. They are really giving us problem," he fumed.

According to the Basse parliamentarian, it is all very well for some degree of security measures to be observed and maintained but such should not be done beyond reasonable limit. "I'm not saying that we should not exercise a degree of security measures but I believe there should be a limit. Every check point, they will ask you to bring all your luggage which is really disturbing," he noted.

Turning to what he called "a laissez passe," Hon. Bah described the phenomenon as a contributing factor to the failure of the re-export trade which, he added, has been lost and therefore hampers economic activity in this country.

The Basse NAM also drew the attention of the National Assembly to what he considered as misconduct on the part of certain security officers.

"Even if you are a Gambian and leave your Identity Card at home, they would ask you your Identity Card and if you fail to show it, you must pay D50 which is never registered and it all goes into their pockets, thus giving the government of the Gambia a bad name all along," he asserted.

The apparently upset Basse parliamentarian lamented that the number of check points from Barra to Basse are uncountable. "I think it is high time for you Madam Speaker to see how you can intervene as head of this institution because we have been crying foul over and over," he concluded.