Sierra Leone Internal Affairs Minister Outlines Successes 

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Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Edward Amin Soloku

By Abdul Hassan Fackie

The Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Edward Amin Soloku has spoken about his achievements since he was made minister in President Bio’s administration. This was captured by this medium in an exclusive interview. He said there has been marked improvement in all the departments and agencies of the ministry since the New Direction Government of President Julius Maada Bio assumed office on 4th April, 2018.

Hon. Soloku said the Sierra Leone Police has been strengthened by the Government with new recruitments of two thousand new officers and men of the SLP. This addition, he avers, will help to fill lapses in security where the police was not able to cover across the country’s security porous districts, towns and chiefdoms.

Congestion in prisons too has been scaled up as measures were taken to secure about ninety acres of land at Songo village where a new maximum security prison will be built to transfer the infamous Pademba Road.

The project is currently mobilising resources to start work on the building site. Though it is not yet in actual terms but efforts at transforming the sector from prisons to correctional centres was lauded by Hon. Soloku as a great achievement because it addresses the humane part of the treatment of offenders who are now benefitting from tutorial lessons and other opportunities in prisons so they would be transformed after leaving the centres with the right correctional measures.

”It will interest Sierra Leoneans to know that the inmates in the correctional centres are now given skills and they produce various kinds of items which they sell to the general public,” he disclosed, and pointed that offenders are now gainfully engaged to reduce psychological and emotional trauma.

Inmates also have bank accounts they save the money they make from the sales of items they produce in prison so they can have a start-up when they complete their terms of imprisonment to start a living. The female correctional centres have child-friendly facilities, toys and playgrounds for children who are living with their mothers in the centres.

The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), an arm of the ministry is currently building a Civil Register of all residents in Sierra Leone. The registration exercise is to help Government clean up the payroll register and reduce the wage bill and to help Government save about six million Dollars ($6,000,000.00) annually.

“Now if you want to recruit civil servants you simply go and clarity information about them at the NCRA. From the information at the NCRA all appointment letters that are now issued by the Government to its workers have the date and year in which they should retire. So now no more over staying in Government work,” he stated.

The NCRA, he furthered, is currently busy verifying the remaining people that are being registered and will also start issuing national identity cards to Sierra Leoneans and other residents in the country. In addition, the NCRA which now has offices all over the country will register births and deaths.

On the passport issue, Hon. Soloku maintained that the cost of a Sierra Leonean passport is seven hundred and fifty thousand Leones (Le 750,000.00) which can be acquired within few days. He warned people not to go to agents and give them money for passports, rather advised them to go straight to the Immigration Department and apply for a passport.

The last issue he deliberated on was the Visa on Arrival issue recently declared by Government. Today, travellers especially investors coming to Sierra Leone would require to get a visit at the Lungi International Airport.

This has been celebrated as an achievement as travelling to the country has been made attractive and easy while security checks and revenue collection made more effective.

In conclusion, Hon. Soloku said under his watch, the National Fire Force, the Coroner’s Office, National Fire Force, Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have all been upgraded with the equipment, finances, manpower and facilities that they  need to enable them to perform more effectively and efficiently.

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