By Baba Sillah
The Minister of Interior, Mai Ahmad Fatty has said that the recent cutting of budget for security by the Finance Ministry is not wise enough at this crucial stage of transition.
Responding to questions by the lawmakers recently at the National Assembly, the Interior Minister said he is of the view that considering the rampant robbery and the threat posed by some bad elements whose intention is to destabilise the nation, it is not wise at this crucial stage to cut the budget for the security. He vowed that the security of the nation and the citizens are of great concern to the government and it will never be compromised.
According to him for the past two decades, the security particularly the police force has been neglected without adequate resources to carry out their functions as expected of them.
He however postulated that the police alone cannot maintain security without the cooperation of the public through community policing which he said is in the process as a watchdog and will be strengthened to the fullest.
“For the past two decades, the former regime has built only one police station which is Sibanor Police Station and the police have taken upon themselves to buy their own equipment because they were abandoned for the past two decades. We need to equip them with the necessary resources in order for them to carry out their responsibilities efficiently and effectively,” Interior Minister Fatty told the lawmakers.
When asked about the government’s stançw on the relocation of the state Central Prison which is not conducive to the prisoners, he replied: “The Central Prison will be closed as soon as the new prison is built. The government is doing all means necessary within its limited resources to improve the condition of the prison. The government is looking for funds with other partners as how to improve the prison condition to a standard one. However there has been remarkable improvement particularly the hygiene condition of the prisoners but more needs to be done to improve the condition,” he said. The Minister said prison should be a correction centre and not a punishment centre so that the convicted ones after serving their terms can be a responsible and productive members of the society.
According to the Interior Minister, prisoners have the right to petition him regarding any abnormalities they face in prison and his ministry has set up a Human Rights Unit to remedy the situation.
Interior Minister Fatty finally told the lawmakers that the government is working in collaboration with Senegalese government in a bid to control the menace of crimes and armed robbery around the frontiers.