Sierra Leone’s Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) Hon. Alusine Kanneh has conducted his inaugural familiarization tour at Freetown International Airport. Appointed in August 2023, he urged staff to uphold professionalism in daily tasks, addressing both permanent and volunteer personnel.

During the tour, the CIO sought firsthand insight into staff challenges and addressed traveler complaints regarding unprofessional conduct during immigration screenings. Emphasizing Lungi as a crucial entry point, he encouraged a departure from business as usual, aspiring to redefine the Immigration Department’s image and leave a positive legacy.

Expressing dissatisfaction with long-serving volunteers not absorbed into the system, the CIO pledged efforts to enhance employment opportunities within the Immigration Department. He sternly warned against accepting money from travelers, vowing strict consequences for any staff involved.

Henry Cowan, Head of Immigration at Freetown International Airport, acknowledged the CIO’s visit and highlighted the insufficient permanent immigration staff—only 26, with four seriously ill. He appealed for the absorption of 37 volunteers into the institution, citing their dedication.

Alie Bakar Conteh, Director of Administration and Finance at the Immigration Department, underscored achievements under CIO Kanneh’s leadership in less than five months. Noting positive reports, he disclosed the department’s limited nationwide staff (less than 300) and emphasized ongoing efforts to recruit more personnel.

While recognizing the impossibility of simultaneous mass employment, Conteh urged professionalism among staff, echoing the CIO’s call to cease soliciting money from travelers. The collaborative efforts with the Human Resource Office aim to align recruitment strategies with the transformative vision set by Hon. Alusine Kanneh.

The CIO’s visit marks a pivotal step towards reforming the Immigration Department, fostering a commitment to professionalism, increased staffing, and a departure from past practices. The outlined measures signify a dedication to upholding the nation’s interests and enhancing Sierra Leone’s immigration processes.