By Mafugi Ceesay
Nominated National Assembly Member, Ya Kumba Jaiteh, has urged the Minister for the Interior to swiftly act by shutting down the Kololi Tavern hub used for peddling hard drugs.
Speaking during question time at the Assembly yesterday, the lawyer and lawmaker posited: “I live around Kololi Tavern and I have engaged the drug squad on this issue several times… The drug squad are there every day. Even at midnight they will jump over fence schasing people. The root of the problem is the youths accuse them of arresting and taking bribes from them… Now hard drugs are being trafficked around that area.”
She demanded to know from Interior minister Yankuba Sonko what he can do to shut down the area “because it is the heart of drug trafficking” in the country.
In response, Minister Sonko promised to engage the director of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency over the matter. “I cannot close that area because I do not have that power, but I will seek stakeholders involvement and discuss with them if all those activities are happening around that area. It is very unfortunate because I witness police patrols being conducted almost every night until 2am.”
He said his ministry is considering upgrading the Drug Law Enforcement Agency to a directorate.
“The agency has signed an operational memorandum of understanding with its counterparts in Senegal and Guinea Bissau and within the framework of this agreement, joint operations are conducted with the aim of strengthening sub-regional cooperation in drug intervention and nurturing inter-operationality among the law enforcement agencies between the three countries,” he disclosed.
Minister Sonko revealed that his ministry is lobbying for the construction of a rehabilitation centre for addicts and abusers which will de-escalate substance abuse situation in the country since addicts and abusers will have access to various support services to facilitate their reform.