Gbalamuya, Kambia District
In a significant step towards proper border management and with the support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Sierra Leone Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Hon. Alusine Kanneh on Saturday 20th January 2024 officially launched the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), calling on immigration staff to utilize the system by capturing all travelers entering and exiting Sierra Leone to Guinea.
MIDAS is a digital system that captures travellers’ biographic and biometric data,which facilitates evidence-based decision making on migration.
It could be recalled that in November 2023, the IOM installed MIDAS at the Gbalamuya border crossing point to collect detailed information on all travelers entering and exiting Sierra Leone.
Launching the System, the CIO said the MIDAS project is one thing he has been looking forward to, adding that they now have a system that takes information analysis of travelers using the Gbalamuya border crossing point.
He emphasized that it was important that they have this system in place , noting it will protect the country and the national security, “and this is something that also has to do with our interpol both national and international interpol. *Our interpol in Sierra Leone and the interpol in the western world that also liaise between our country and other countries. Thanks to the IOM Development Fund.”
The CIO praised IOM and commended them for installing such a system which he described as a ‘right step in the right direction’, noting that it will now help to capture information on travelers and also help to apprehend Coup plotters and criminals that will want to escape across the Sierra Leone-Guinea border.
“It is important that you have this system in place because it will protect our country and our national security. With such installation in place we will now provide sensitive information about people who travel through the Sierra Leone-Guinea border to government agencies. Today is an important day for Sierra Leone and I want to say a very big thank to IOM for bringing this opportunity to our country and to our border in particular” he thanked.
He continued that he was proud to be part of the launching and said the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio will also be proud of such development. He mentioned that with passion he has to change the face of Immigration Department and with such support from the IOM, he is sure the Immigration Department will definitely live up to the expectations of Sierra Leonean.
He asserted that they are also hoping to have the same system at the Freetown International Airport and he will be grateful if the system is being installed in Gendema and which is more the reason why he is pushing for the institution to go semi-autonomous that will help them to be more powerful in their operations.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the Head of IOM for Sierra Leone, Christos Christosdoulides, espoused that they were very proud because they are officially launching the Migration Information and Data Analysis System and that the system has been used across West Africa and across the boundaries of West Africa. He added that this system is currently being used in other major Economy Communities of West Africa States.
IOM Boss for Sierra Leone stated that they started the MIDAS project two years ago to strengthen the border management capacity of the government of Sierra Leone with the support from the IOM.
Christos Christosdoulides also informed the CIO that as part of the project they have rehabilitated the border point. “We are really hoping that this MIDAS system itself will help the Government of Sierra Leonean in collecting the relevant information we want” he said.
He further highlighted that they are currently in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone in finalizing the Integrated Border Management strategies which is the integral part of the national migration policy which was launched by the Government of Sierra Leone in February 2022.
“This is just an important step of the border management information system that the government has committed to support to implement the implementation of the national migration policy and very soon we will have a dedicated integrated border management strategy” he stated.
The launching was graced by the Internal Affairs Minister, Major-General (Rtd) David T.O. Taluva and Mr. James Copper, Deputy Director, Border Management, Immigration Department
For more enquiries:
Communications Specialist ,
Office of the Chief Immigration Officer