Police, Immigration Get Equipment Through UNDP From Japanese Government
Monrovia – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has donated a final set of equipment to the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) purchased through a project supported by the Government of Japan.
The project which has been implemented since March 2015 as part of the post-Ebola recovery sought to strengthen the institutional capacities of the LNP and LIS, with a specific focus on border security through enhanced surveillance systems, screening of border crossings and patrol of border points. It can be recalled that uncontrolled border crossings resulted in the transmission of Ebola.
Friday’s event took place at the Liberia Maritime Authority Training Academy, in Marshall, Margibi County and was attended by the Inspector-General of the LNP, Mr. Gregory O.W Coleman and the Commissioner-General of the LIS, Cllr. Lemuel Reeves, who received the donations on behalf of their institutions.
Handing them over was a representative of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Steve Jackson, who in turn received the donations from UNDP through its Deputy Country Director for Programme, Mr. Cleophas Torori.
Among the donations were six state-of-the-art patrol boats also called “dinghies” a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties, which will be used for border patrol and protection roles, including anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement, as well as rescu e operations.
This will be the first time for the LIS to have such watercraft for marine and river patrols, besides other logistics provided to boost its capacity, thanks to the UNDP project. LIS is organizing training for selected officer at the Maritime Training Academy to form its Marine Unit.
Besides the dinghies, other sets of equipment donated included 2 Toyota Land Cruisers Hardtop motor vehicles (for Monitoring and Evaluation), 32 Desk top computers, 32 Laser jet Printers and 100 Camp-beds valued at US$371,336.22, all shared equally between the 2 agencies.
In total, the $3.6m project which has just ended has enhanced the operational and logistical capacity of LIS and LNP with 18 vehicles, 160 motor-bikes, 2,000 rain gear, 16 tents, 260 camp beds, 200 hand-held communication radios and 80 base radios, 168 mega-phones for community sensitization, 100 flash lights, 200 hand-held thermometers, 15 solar panels with technical rooms that are yet to be installed at selected border posts and Police stations in the counties, and 8 Public Address (PA) systems under the case of the County Superintendent to be used for public engagement and sensitization, among other sanitation kit supplies for about 400 female officers and households heads.
Receiving the equipment and items on behalf of their respective institutions, both the IGP and the Commissioner-General LIS pledged to have them used for the purpose intended and expressed appreciation to UNDP and the Government and people of Japan for the donation that has greatly helped to strengthen the capacities of their institutions.
The representatives of UNDP and the Ministry of Justice also underscored the need for the donations to be put to the intended use along the borders, in order to enhance border surveillance and security, and thus curb transmission of communicable diseases and illicit trade, including drugs and small arms.
In addition to the heavy logistical support, the Community Engagement and Training component of the project employed focused group discussions and community sensitization and awareness campaigns in the eight target counties to strengthen coordination and collaboration among the security agencies on one hand, and between the security agencies and the communities on the hand.
Participants were drawn from LIS Border Patrol Units, LNP Officers, Community Watch Forum, County and District Security Council members, County Health Team, UNMIL and other UN agencies’ representatives, County Superintendents, County Attorneys, Community/Traditional leaders, Youth and Women groups’ representatives, among others.
As it comes to a close, it is obvious that he project has immensely enhanced operations and patrols of the security agencies, especially in the border counties, and consequently increased the confidence and trust between security agencies and border communities, as well as improve social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
It has also demonstrated the fruitful dividends of the partnership between UNDP and the Governments of Japan and Liberia.