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City of Banjul
Friday, April 19, 2024
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The interior minister has no option to fail

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Since a regional police commissioner announced that a greater percentage of all crimes recorded by them have been committed by foreigners resident in the country, the perception that immigration is fueling crime is becoming entrenched in the minds of Gambians.

Every other day, a flurry of headlines would appear in newspapers, including ours, reporting the commission of a heinous crime by, you guess it, the usual suspects – immigrants – usually from the sub-region mainly Nigerians and increasingly Sierra Leoneans. This could lead to anti-immigrant sentiments and eventually outright xenophobia. That would be quite unfortunate because The Gambia has always been a nation of immigrants and migration has brought about great diversity among the peoples and enriched our socio-economic interactions and integration.

Most of the people who come into the country are low-skilled migrants and given the difficult economic situation, it is not surprising that break-ins and theft, vehicle thefts, snatch theft, violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery (with and without a firearm), and offenses causing bodily injuries are on the upward trend.

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Another factor arguably spurring crimes is the availability of firearms and illicit drugs like Kush which is turning our youths into murderous, crazed zombies. Every day of the week now, the police or the drug law enforcement agency spokespersons would announce seizure of huge quantities of cocaine and Kush and its peddlers, again, usually Sierra Leoneans.

This untenable situation calls for concerted action from the police, immigration department, drug law enforcement agency and the intelligence services. The borders must be controlled otherwise the peace and stability the country is known for will vapourise and the state would have failed in its basic duty of protecting the lives and properties of Gambians and all residents of the country.

The new minister for the interior has his work cut out for him. He has spent a greater part of his working life as a law enforcement officer rising to the rank of top cop in the country. The experiential knowledge he garnered puts him in a unique position to deal with the security and crime challenges facing the country. We want to see tangible improvements NOW! Minister Abdoulie Sanyang, you have no option to fail.

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