THE SECURITY SECTOR ENGAGES STAKEHOLDERS IN WATERLOO
Freetown – 31st March 2022 – The Western Area Rural District (WARD) is one of the fastest-growing communities in Sierra Leone. This expansion has not gone without its attendant socio-economic misgivings. Instead of the expansion being a catalyst for peace, security and development, it has unfortunately confronted the community with numerous social problems. Therefore, over the years, the security sector has had on its radar and subsequently observed with revulsion, that the WARD, with particular reference to the Waterloo general area, has become a hub for organized criminalities, lawlessness, indiscipline and public disorders. Apart from being a host to hundreds of thousands of former combatants, the Waterloo general area has become a conduit for organized criminal activities and other related crimes.
Specifically, acts of burglary, robbery, domestic violence, murder, vehicle theft/dismantling, land grabbing/conflicts, drug peddling/marijuana cultivation and consumption, human trafficking, destruction of public assets etc. are among the prevailing crimes the sector has recorded over the period and is grappling with.
As part of the measure in finding sustainable solutions to the above-mentioned social problems, a cross-section of the National Security Council Coordinating Group (NSCCG), led by the National Security Coordinator, Office of National Security (NSCoord), Mr Abdulai Caulker, on Thursday, 31st March 2022, visited Waterloo and had an effective engagement with the principal stakeholders in Waterloo.
In his opening, the NSCoord, who co-chaired the meeting with the Regional Minister, Western Area, Mrs. Nabila Tunis stated that the specific purpose of the engagement was to enable the Expanded Emergency NSCCG (E2NSCCG), Provincial Security Committee (PROSEC) West, District Security Committee (DISEC) WARD hold frank discussions with the relevant stakeholders in WARD on the growing spate of lawlessness, indiscipline and organized criminalities with specific reference to Waterloo.
The NSCCG is the second highest organ of state for the consideration of all matters relating to national security. It is a sub-committee of the National Security Council (NSC) and is chaired by the National Security Coordinator. It meets fortnightly and draws it membership from Heads of Security Sector Institutions, Permanent Secretaries/Director Generals/Directors and Heads of Relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The NSCCG serves as an executive committee of the NSC and provides strategic recommendations to the NSC for policy direction and decision-making purposes.
The outcome of the engagement is meant to inform policy decisions and duty bearers on curbing the social malaise plaguing Waterloo and its immediate environs. The co-chairperson, Mrs. Nabila Tunis, who is also the chairperson of the PROSEC West, opined that in the past, several efforts aimed at addressing the problems confronting the peace, security and development of Waterloo have been made, yet nothing positive has come out of the interventions. She, therefore, informed the audience that the honeymoon is over and stern actions will now be taken against miscreants, effective immediately.
Several speakers, including the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr. Kabineh Kallon, the Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Sullay I. Sesay, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Elizabeth Augusta Turay, the Director-General, Central Intelligence and Security Unit (CISU), Mr. Ansumana Idriss, the Director-General, Sierra Leone Correctional Services (SLCS), Mr. Joseph Lamboi, the Chief Fire Officer, National Fire Force (NFF), Mr. Nazir A. Kamanda-Bongay, the Chairman, Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC), Mr. Kasho J. Holland Cole, the Head of the Council of Tribal Chiefs in Waterloo, Chief Alimamy Kamara – Bethembeng II, Permanent Secretaries – Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, President, Motor Drivers Union, Youth Leader, Biker Riders Union, Petty Traders Union, Ex-servicemen Association etc. made meaningful contributions during the engagement.
Giving his keynote and take-home message, the NSCoord expressed that the meeting was a wake-up call for all duty bearers on the need for them to step up efforts in taking concrete actions to curb the growing spate of lawlessness, indiscipline and organized criminal activities etc. in especially the Waterloo general area, and the country as a whole. He called on the leadership of WARDC and all other relevant stakeholders to take responsibility by continuing to play their part in the enhancement and acceleration of peace and development in the district. In particular, the NSCoord admonished all statutory members of the decentralized security committees to make it a point of duty to always attend meetings of the committees as these are the structures through which numerous community problems could be resolved.
The NSCoord further reiterated the security sector’s resolve to holistically clamp down on lawlessness and indiscipline in not only Waterloo but the entire gamut of Sierra Leone. He used the opportunity to remind all that the recent security sector ban on the use of marshals by all political parties remains in full force and warned that anyone who goes against the ban will be doing so outside the law and will be pursued within the ambit of the laws of Sierra Leone. He admonished all to eschew lawlessness, indiscipline, and all other forms of organized criminality, but rather embrace peace, security and development for the growth of Waterloo and the country. Commenting on the misuse of social media to distort information and send incendiary messages to unsuspecting members of the public, the NSCoord warned perpetrators to desist from these nefarious practices, otherwise, the new Cybercrime Act will be used to prosecute perpetrators. The NSCoord concluded that, as part of his oath-taking promise to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he will ensure that lawlessness, indiscipline and all other forms of criminalities become things of the past is not only Waterloo but the entire country.
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