• October 3, 2023

“Immigration Department was like a marketplace” – Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) 

“Immigration Department was like a marketplace” – Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) 
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The Chief Immigration Officer, Immigration Department, Alusine Kanneh, has told a team of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) personnel that before his appointment the institution was like a marketplace with no sanity as influx of people that had no business to be around the corridors of the building were perambulating for no just cause.

Since I assumed office with support from my staff I have been able to bring some sanity into the institution, he said.

As a result, Chief Immigration Officer Alusine Kanneh has requested the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for support during a courtesy call by IOM team to the Chief Immigration Officer of recent.

‘I am gratified to meet with the team. The Immigration department is faced with numerous challenges ranging from staffing and vehicles. I will be grateful to receive any support from IOM,’ CIO Alusine Kanneh pleaded.

Kanneh continued that he had promised the president that he will surely change the face and bring sanity to the institution, despite less distraction and no attention being paid to the institution.

He described the Immigration Department as a security institution that he noted is key simply because it has to do with the gateway and the face of the country, hence the reason he noted the IOM’s visit is significant in ensuring that the Immigration Department depicts it true sense and purpose.

The Chief Immigration Officer reiterated his plea for IOM support while informing the visiting team that he had already cast his net wide for partners abroad that he has worked with to help change the current narrative of the Immigration Department.

‘We lack vehicles and motorbikes, we want to go digital,’ Kanneh emphasised.

He also informed the International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) that he is focusing on data system at the immigration, having realised that there is no proper record system in the institution, reiterating that data protection is key.

He also disclosed that in the coming month the Immigration Department building will be under full engineering works as he had already awarded a contract to a reputable company to renovate the whole building.

‘I see it as impressive. I am sure the Immigration Department will surely go far. We hope to be part of this process,’ Christos Christosdoulides, Head of IOM Sierra Leone, said.

He also informed CIO Kanneh that they have been operating in Sierra Leone for over twenty-two (22) years now with the government and the Immigration Department, noting with such a relationship with previous CIOs, he is hopeful to continue the good working relationship with the current Chief Immigration Officer.

He further noted that migration is a key topic to the Immigration Department as IOM mainly concentrates on border management, border governance and all aspects relating to the management of migration, with the Immigration Department playing a key role and that both institutions can reinforce further collaborations with the Department.

Christosdoulides yearns for further options to the needs and requests of the government of Sierra Leone regarding border management in particular.

The Chief Immigration Officer is an expert in the area of immigration having studied immigration in Norway and worked for a considerable number of years before coming back to Sierra Leone.

The CIO, during his tenure as a Member of Parliament, was the Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs and former deputy Chief Whip of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone before his appointment as Chief Immigration Officer.

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