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Interior Minister challenges security chiefs

Apr 21, 2010, 11:26 AM

The Minister of the Interior, Ousman Sonko, has challenged all security chiefs to tighten their belts and take a common stance in combating the menace of crimes

According to Minister Sonko, the increasing crime rate in society is unacceptable, particularly crimes like murder, rape, and drug trafficking.

Interior Minister Sonko was speaking at the opening of a daylong retreat organised by the Ministry of the Interior and NGO Affairs.

He pointed out that maintaining peace is of paramount importance if any meaningful development is to take place.

"Without peace, there is no development," he declared.

He, therefore, stressed the need to maintain peace and security at all levels and times, so as to enable the motherland, Gambia, achieve her development goals.

The retreat, held at the Baobab Resort, brought together security chiefs from the various security outfits under the Ministry of the Interior, with a view to mapping out policies and programmes geared towards tackling the challenges confronting the existing security apparatus.

Maintaining security, Minister Sonko noted, has become a big challenge, and the government has realised the crucial role each and every member of society plays in ensuring peace.

Tribalism, he said, should be given no room in the security services, noting that his principal aim and objective is to make sure that there is equal treatment of personnel, regardless of gender, origin, tribe and religion.

Minister Sonko reiterated the need for the proper handling and continuous maintenance of state vehicles and machinery, which, according to him, will enable all vehicles to have a longer life span. He urged service chiefs to always make sure that state equipment is always used on what it is meant for.

He further called on the head of all security institutions to be giving regular support to the NGO Affairs Agency.

"That will enable them in their drive to meet the MDGs and Vision 2020 objectives as a family," he said.

The Inspector General of Police, Yankuba Sonko, speaking at the retreat, also noted that peace and security is a prerequisite for development.

In this regard, IGP Sonko went on, it should be the duty of not only security officers to maintain peace and security, but the public as a whole.

Inspector General Sonko also highlighted the fact that the Gambia Police Force has contributed, and will continue to play its part, in international peacekeeping operations.

It will also continue to cooperate and collaborate with international police bodies in maintaining global peace and combating the menace of crimes, he added.

On capacity building, the police chief noted that the training of police officers in various areas is one of his administration's key priorities.

According to him, the training of police officers at the international level has taken place in Ghana, Taiwan, Egypt and Sweden. He said plans are also in the offing to further improve the capacities of officers, both at home and at the international level.

IGP Sonko also dilated on the support the police had received from philanthropists, ranging from the construction of police stations, with the support of the Police Engineering Unit.

In his remarks, the Chief Fire Officer, Roger Bakurin, described the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services as the welfare arm of the state.

According to him, the Fire Services must come out whenever there is an urgent need for humanitarian services and environmental mitigation.

Mr. Bakurin noted that his new priority is to make sure that the presence of the Fire and Rescue Services is felt in all the regions of the country. He pointed out that plans were also in the making for the construction of more fire stations to respond to the demand of the Gambian public.

He pointed out that the public has been sensitised on the actions to take in the event of fire outbreaks, bush fires and on life-saving mechanisms during the Minister's country-wide tour.

The acting Director General of the Gambia Immigration Department, Alhaji Buba Sagnia, also dilated on document security, which, according to him, is the key in the maintenance of peace and security. He, therefore, called on the local authorities and other document issuing bodies to be mindful in the issuing of documents.

Concerning illegal migration, he pointed out that the menace has caused a lot of havoc on the lives of the Gambian youths, over the past years. He noted that his department would never relent in its efforts in combating illegal migration.

The Director of the Gambia Prisons Services, David Colley, gave a brief background of the Gambia Prisons Services, which, according to him, started far back in the colonial era.

Mr. Khalilou Njie, the Executive Director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, NDEA, highlighted on the dangers and implications drugs pose to the socio-economic development of any nation. Director Njie called for closer collaboration and cooperation between the security agencies to enable them tackle their challenges.

Mr. Dibba, the Executive Director of the NGO Affairs Department under the Ministry of the Interior, also spoke on the vital role the NGO Affairs Agency plays in nation building.

He noted the need for support, expansion and capacity building which, according to him, will enable them achieve the MDGs and Vision 2020 objectives.

The retreat was chaired by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Kumba Conateh - Nam.