Fourth Floor, Immigration Headquarters, Glouster Street Freetown, Thursday 28 September 2023- An intergovernmental organisation in the field of migration dedicated to ensuring the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, a team from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has made a courtesy call on the new Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Hon. Alusine Kanneh, assured him of their support on how to address migration issues in the country.
Receiving the IOM Team, the New CIO Boss said he was gratified to meet with the Team and that the institution is faced with numerous challenges ranging from staffing and vehicles, noting he will be grateful to receive any support from the IOM.
He also stated that since he is an expert in the area of immigration, he has promised the President to bring good policies that will change the face of the institution.
“An institution that has to do with the public both national and international. Like yourself now coming in here. One thing I told the President is this, this is my expertise, I read immigration in Norway, I worked there also. And I chaired this institution for five good years, as Chairman, Committee on Internal Affairs and I was also part of the leadership of Parliament as the Deputy Chief Whip for the Government of Sierra Leone. I know I will bring all these expertise and with support from my staff we will surely bring sanity into this institution” he said.
He pointed out one of the things he has observed over the years is the laguna that has to do with the institution. He recalled that when he was appointed by the President one of the things he told him was that, he is to change the face and bring sanity into the institution.
He continued that one thing he has found out is that there is less distraction, no attention is not paid to the Immigration Department and this is one of the security institutions that is very key that has to do with the gateway, the face of Sierra Leone.
He emphasized that when he was appointed he assured the President of bringing changes into the Immigration Department “We agreed, I told him my part, I told him my direction that someone has to do something, someone has to start someone where. Changing the face of an institution also shows the seriousness of you coming in, and also given hope to even the staff”
The Chief Immigration Officer called on the IOM team to support him, adding that he has also started contacting partners abroad that he has worked with in helping the institution to grow.
He informed that the institution faced a lot of challenges, “we are lack of vehicles and motorbikes. We want to go digital. I have invited people that are experts in digital systems, we started having discussions with them, they have started the demonstration and I think I am certified with them.”
He also told the team that he is also focusing on data protection having realized that there are no proper record systems at the Immigration Department and that data protection is very key to such an institution. He emphasized that the Institution is in need of a rapid change.
The CIO said before this time the Immigration Department used to be like a market place, there was no sanity, influx of people that had no business to be around the corridors of the building but since he assumed office with support from his staff he has been able to bring some sanity into the institution.
Hon. Alusine Kanneh disclosed to the IOM team that in the next one month the Immigration Department will be under full engineering work and he has already awarded a contract to a reputable company to renovate the whole building.
Christos Christosdoulides, Head of IOM Sierra Leone, congratulated CIO for his appointment and thanked him for his impressive changes which he has brought into the Immigration Department. “I see it impressive and I see with you I am sure immigration Department will surely go far. We hope to be part of this process.”
The Head of IOM, informed the CIO that they have been operating in the country for over 22 years now, working very closely with the Government of Sierra Leone and the Immigration Department and with such relationship with the previous CIO, he knows they will continue the good working relationship with the current Chief Immigration Officer.
He noted that Immigration Department is a key partner of IOM, and that they will continue with the strong collaboration mainly on border patrol management and volunteering return operations.
The Head of IOM Sierra Leone migration is a key topic to Immigration Department,he added they are mainly looking at border management, border governance and also all the aspect related to the management of migration which the Immigration Department plays a key role and they can see together to reinforce further collaboration with the Immigration Department and to see further options to the needs and request to the government of Sierra Leone with regards to border management in particular.
“I am expecting to continue with the relationship we had with the Immigration Department for the past 20 years and to even seek to do more together and be very proactive and seek solutions to any given challenges and issues we might face with regards to migration” he assured.
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