By Mustapha Jallow
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) on Wednesday opened newly built stations in Gunjur and Kartong in Kombo South district in a bid to tackle irregular migration, human trafficking and border crimes.
Its objective was to ensure effective cooperation between security personnel and citizens with an emphasis on both sides of the public service.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by senior security officers from different institutions, community elders, youths, fishermen-women etc. The two new stations were built at the beaches of Gunjur and Kartong.
Gunjur station was built with support from Golden Lead Fishmeal Company and other partners as part of their social corporate responsibility, while the construction of the station at Kartong was funded by Gambian businessmen.
Delivering his statement in Gunjur, Seedy M. Touray, the Director General of GID, assured the public that irregular migration, trafficking in persons, cross border crimes, violence and so on can be countered if they work with his institution.
“We know security personnel work tirelessly everyday throughout the year to help keep our country safe and they need your help,’’ he told the gathering.
He said the immigration post is accessible to the public and staffed with officers who are trained on how to work with locals in tackling human trafficking, border crimes and so on.
In Kartong, M. Touray said opening the post forms part of the decentralization policy implemented by the GID to strengthen and enhance operational capabilities for all border control points.
“The new stations will facilitate management and regular monitoring of people entering and leaving the country. My administration has mapped out plans to further extend the construction of new immigration post in other regions across the country,’’ he said.
Sulayman Kujabi, GID Commissioner for West Coast Region said: “We are focusing on the concerns that communities themselves prioritize. That is community-based approach to security that can help address the causes of tension and violence.’’
“The project inaugurated is a by-product of social corporate responsibilities.’’
According to him, the condition at the then Gunjur immigration post was not conductive for officers to perform their duties effectively and efficiently, saying the building roofs were leaking and needed urgent attention.
He said this prompted the regional immigration command to approach the management of Golden Lead fishmeal factory for sponsorship through its social corporate responsibility. He said 50 bags of cement were provided by their department.
Commissioner Kujabi said Kartong station was sponsored by a philanthropist, Gambian businessmen, immigration department and other individuals.
Manding Saidykan, a representative from the interior ministry, said the newly constructed buildings will no doubt facilitate, coordinate, monitor and regulate the movement of people in and out of the Gambia’s territories through effective and efficient management and control of borders.
“We hope, with several posts built in this vein, will maximize immigration operation for close-door surveillance over influx of people into the country, particularly through the sea routes during peak periods,’’ he said.
Alhagi Lamin Sanyang, one of the speakers, said people migrating into the country should be inspected by Immigration Officers, saying the newly built stations are not there for what he called ‘witch-hunt’ but to facilitate good governance, especially at local level
GID officials announced later that the new stations will not only be occupied by immigration officer alone, but other sister security outfits such as members of The Gambia Police Force, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Gambia Navy, Fire and Rescue Service etc.