The Sierra Leone Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Hon. Alusine Kanneh has updated His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio about current happenings at the Immigration Office after taking up office in September, he also told the President that the Immigration Department is facing a lot of challenges, therefore he has embarked on a series of renovations.

You could recall that Hon. Alusine Kanneh was appointed as the Chief Immigration Officer in August this year and since his appointment, this is the first visit to President Julius Maada Bio at State House to update him on current development at the Immigration Office.

In his opening statement, the CIO first commended President Julius Maada Bio for reposing confidence in him for appointing him in such a position. He informed the President that the institution has been facing a lot of challenges over the past years.

“The institution that you have appointed me to has a lot of challenges and of course the challenges are enormous. And I think over the years a lot of things have been happening at that department but we are trying to make sure that we ease the exodus of people in that building” he said.

He re-emphasized that the institution has not been very conducive, adding that the Immigration Department has not been too good in the eyes of the public and therefore reassured the President that with the current leadership and the team of the Department will do their best to make sure that the right thing is done.

He continued that their visit was also to brief the President on the things and the reforms they have put in place and to ensure that the right thing happens at the department. He said this country should embrace immigration office as one of the security institutions that protect the rights of the people.

President Bio in his statement, congratulated Hon. Alusine Kanneh for his appointment, he emphasized the control of people coming in and out of the country and for that reason they are working very hard to create a database system that will be very significant for security purposes.

“It is good for us to know exactly what is happening at all times. So the fact that you are taking data of who comes in and out of this country is important. These days of the digital age we have to be vigilant and I am very happy you are thinking of digitizing that process. Of course your core functions are very important in any modern state” the President said.

The President reminded the Immigration Team that at this point when the world has become a global village, the best they can do is to properly equip themselves to deal with the out and inflows of people so that they can keep in charge of what is happening in and out of the country.

The President highlighted that the non citizens act will be looked into so standards will improve as such institutions are very important in any country. The challenges are many, he said but he and his team will ensure that actions are being taken to live forward the country immigration.

“We want to improve on everything we do, we are getting older and that act is too old. I think the earlier we do the earlier we get better. In terms of a semi-autonomous body I think these are all things we can discuss. By the nature of what you do we can look at it and see what has to do. But I will also want to remind you that this is a serious security agency in as much as you perform other core responsibilities you should always keep in mind what you do or don’t do actually affect the department, “ he stated.

President Bio said he was quite impressed by what is currently happening at the Immigration Department and that he will surely support the CIO to change the face of the department.

The Head of Strategic Planning at the Immigration Department, Abdul Karim Bangura also expressed gratitude to President Julius Maada Bio for his commitment and his strong leadership during his first term in office. He explained about many areas that the Immigration is involved in including human trafficking, entering border control, resident permit for foreigners, issuance of visa to foreigners but a few.

Credit: Communications Specialist, Office of the Chief Immigration Officer