Lawlessness On The Increase… Jail Them All!

 

With Members of Parliament having raised grave concern over the increase of lawlessness in the country lately, and called for joint action to be taken against the menace by all line state security institutions and agencies, many have recommended that the only solution to the menace is for the police to adopt a no-nonsense attitude to such rubbish and for the Judiciary to jail anyone caught and found guilty for a lengthy spell behind bars.

Meanwhile, a security official in the Office of National Security (ONS), Mr. Languba Keili has played down the public’s fear by reporting that Sierra Leone is 90% safe, adding that the state cannot be over secured as Sierra Leone is not a police state.

However, with the Christmas season here and the tendency for criminals to heighten their activities, he said, the security apparatus has put in place a robust joint action security plan that will be swiftly responsive to any security threat anywhere, anytime, with the setting up a 24-hour National Security Situation Room which became effective on 15th December that can be accessed on 119 on Orange, Africell and Sierratel from anywhere in the country. However, he deplored that 90% of the calls received so far have been hoax calls. He warned that such callers will be traced and prosecuted.

Reassuring citizens as well as those living in the country that they are safe, Mr. Keili said strategic security deployments have been made across the country, including the borders. There will be no MAC-P, he said, but RSLAF have been deployed strategically in undercover roles. Intelligence assets have also been deployed to forestall any major criminal enterprises across the country. Both the police and RSLAF he assured are providing round the clock security in all strategic positions across the country including the capital’s CBD.

Concerning the concern raised by the MP and the nation in generally about the impunity with which students in Freetown recent violated law and order after an inter-secondary schools football match, Mr. Keli said the police find themselves in a Catch-22 situation of how to effective use the carrot and stick approach in striking a fine balance between allowing people’s liberties and enforcing the law. He deplored students on that day along Campbell Street entering people’s shops and snatching goods and breaking windshields as well as openly confronting the police who used tear gas to quell them down.

From a sociological perspective, Mr. Keili said, “the kind of lawless and wayward youths that we have now is a byproduct of the eleven years RUF war against the state;” citing that many of the child soldiers saw battle in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast and that many of them although disarmed and demobilized were not successfully integrated into society. He stated that society in general has a shared responsibility in responding to this societal failure.

On the concern raised by the US Embassy with regards the safety of their citizens in Sierra Leone, Mr. Keili said it was exaggerated and unfounded as the situation in April when the report was first issued and even now is not reflective of the security situation in the country.