NIA moves to formalise name change to SIS

NIA moves to formalise name change to SIS


By Tabora Bojang

A new bill crafted to bring about effective legal and institutional policy frameworks for the general restructuring of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) which will among others legally change its name from National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to SIS will soon be introduced before the National Assembly for approval.

Lamin Jadama the director of reforms and legal affairs at SIS disclosed this at a press conference at the agency’s headquarters earlier this week.


The name NIA was renamed SIS soon after the change of government in 2017 mainly because of its villainous reputation. But legal observers said the change is not legit because the change of name is not backed by law since the law establishing the NIA in the 1997 Constitution is intact.

According to Jadama, the name change was put in the draft constitution which was rejected by parliament.

According to him, the change of the agency’s name from NIA to SIS “has posed some challenges” because people continue to question its legality.

 “We have a number of times attended forums where people still refer to us NIA because the law still calls us NIA. This new bill is now at an advanced stage and has already been sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice for all relevant necessities to be completed before tabling it in parliament. It really took us a very long time and things were exacerbated by Covid-19 but we are almost there now. We are almost ready and anytime soon it will be tabled at the National Assembly,” he said.

SIS legal adviser ML Jallow explained that by law the SIS continues to operate under Decree 45 of the 1994 military junta, which has been incorporated into the 1997 Constitution establishing the NIA.

“According to that law we are NIA but it is also not wrong that we are SIS.  It was anticipated that once the CRC was done the constitution will be changed and that constitution has already recognised us to be SIS,” the legal adviser stated.

 He admitted that the “name NIA brings along a lot of trauma” and consequently the name change to SIS was in line with widely public advocacies for renaming.

“As the reforms are progressing, we are SIS and there have been advanced developments in this light. The bill is already reviewed and it is at the Ministry of Justice and in any time it could be tabled in the National Assembly for approval. If that is not possible for one reason or another we can have a constitutional amendment to reflect the current name SIS,” Jallow said.