By Amin Kef-Ranger
In a Public Notice issued by the Office of the President and dated the 27th July, 2022 it was stated that it has pleased His Excellency, the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio to appoint William Fayai Sellu as the new Inspector General of Police, Elizabeth Turay as Director of Police Affairs in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Amadu Mannah, as Senior Technical Adviser in the same Ministry, Col. (Rtd.) Binneh Conteh as Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms, Sahr Hemore as Deputy Minister (II) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and Alhaji Dr. Alpha Bakarr Sahid Kanu as the Presidential Spokesman.
Indeed, there were indications that some kind of reformation was necessary to occur within the Sierra Leone Police Force as criticisms against the Police Force for its brutality and highhandedness were rife.
Often accused on acting on behalf of the ruling SLPP Government in terms of subduing dissenting voices and suppressing political opponents, the Sierra Leone Police, under Ambrose Sovula, was allegedly said to be favoring every action and decision of the Government, good or bad and the then Inspector General, in the person of Ambrose Sovula, was seen as a mere puppet on the string who was remotely controlled and dictated to by influential political and public figures.
He was also accused of most times acting impulsively instead of rationally.
His tenure was marred by the perpetration of various human rights violations by the Police ranging from the Tombo killings, the Hastings land saga in which a prominent local figure, Wadada, was killed, the Makeni incidents in which five youth were said to have been shot to death by the police, the Pademba Road Maximum Prison incident during which inmates and prison officers were killed, the arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition leaders etc.
The incompetency of the then IG Sovula and the unprofessional ways he responded to certain situations became apparent and sickening to many who also ridiculed his inability to proficiently express himself in a coherent and convincing manner not only in our local parlance but the Queen’s Language.
Shortcomings of the Police, under the leadership of Ambrose Sovula, reflected negatively on the country’s human rights credentials and so it was high time that something should be done not to allow the situation to further degenerate into a worsening position. Indeed, it was necessary for action to be instituted in order to forestall any major blunder on the part of the Police in dealing with an emerging issue.
It, therefore, came as no surprise when on the 27th July 2022 His Excellency the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio relieved Ambrose Sovula from his position as Inspector General of Police and appointed, William Fayia Sellu, as the new Inspector General.
However, no reason was given for the President’s decision to relieve him but there is a school of thought that believes his clandestine involvement in the clearing of a container at the Queen Elizabeth11 Quay or Port was what led to his demise.
The said container generated so much suspicion after it was alleged that it contained drugs and contraband materials but only to be opened at Kingtom, in the West End of Freetown to discover that it contained food items. However, some are of the opinion that the container that was opened was not the one containing the drugs and other contraband items maintaining that the way the actual container was heavily guarded at the Quay up to how it was surreptitiously taken to Kingdom where it was opened, speaks volumes.
Others have expressed the view that the former Inspector General resigned from his position because he has attained the retirement age of 65 years.
Whatever the reason may be, whether he was sacked or retired the fact now remains that Ambrose Sovula is no longer the Inspector General of Police.