President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday paid glowing tribute to the security services for their participation in peacekeeping operations in Somalia, Darfur, Sudan, and other parts of the world.
While officially launching the second Security Sector Review (SSR) report for 2012 at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown, the president stated that since the last SSR in 2005, the security services have experienced tremendous transformation that has increased their capacity to secure the lives, property and achievements of the people of the country.
"Today, we are not only amongst the most peaceful of nations in the world, but we are also exporting peace and security to other countries through their participation in peacekeeping operations. This is a remarkable transformation that every Sierra Leonean must applaud. May I therefore in the name of the people and government of this country, and in my own name, request that we all rise up to give a rousing applause for our security sector," he said.
Koroma urged the all present that even as they applaud, they must remain vigilant and continue to work harder to face up to the remaining and emerging threats to the peace and security of the country, while stressing the need to map out the new wave of security threats and continue to make national security agencies much more responsive to the needs of the people in the next decade and beyond.
According to the president, the report is the outcome of a National Security Council (NSC) endorsement, which he commissioned in 2011 and directed the National Security Coordinator, Office of National Security (ONS) to lead the process of conducting a comprehensive review of the security sector.
He maintained that the report identified major threats to the internal and external security of the country and established a framework for the development of suitable security policies, programmes and structures to deal with those threats.
"We cannot turn our backs to peacemaking; we must not abandon our aspirations for peace in the world; we will not run away from our commitments and obligations. That was why I directed the security sector under the auspices of the ONS to develop a counter-terrorism strategy as a response to the threats posed to our country by the Al-shabaab terrorist group consequent upon our participation in peacekeeping operations in Somalia," he noted.
He ended up by pointing out that security all over the world would be best assured when nations cooperate, strengthened when people are vigilant and better sustained by a security establishment that is confident, loyal to the democratic leadership and true to their professional ideals.
Also speaking, National Security Coordinator at the Office of National Security (ONS), Retired Brigadier Mustapha K. Dumbuya, explained that the Technical Working Group, which he set up based on the instruction from the president to conduct the second security sector review, assessed the current capabilities of the security services as well as ministries, departments and agencies to counter any threat.
According to him, it came out clearly that most security institutions lack the capability to counter any threat to the peace and security of the country.
While highlighting funding from development partners as the critical risk that could militate against the full implementation of the report, Retired Brigadier Dumbuya called on government and partners to ensure a holistic and comprehensive implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.
Earlier, giving a synopsis of the report, Head of the Technical Working Group, Francis L. Keili, noted that the thrust of the report is how the sector can be able to efficiently support the government to roll out its 'Agenda for Prosperity' development blueprint.
He said the objective of the review was to appraise the posture and requirement of the security sector institutions from 2012 to 2022 and revealed that out of the 42 security threats identified in the report, 35 are human related.
Statement was also made by the Team Leader for the British Department for International Development (DFID) Access to Security and Justice, ASJP, Charles Jakosa, who stated that the report will provide the groundwork to help people achieve their goal.