By Fatmata Grace Okekearu- Bo City

In an effort to address security vulnerabilities in Lower Banta Chiefdom, a summit convened by joint security structures, including the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Office of National Security (ONS), and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) Navy, took place on April 8th, 2024.

The meeting, attended by a diverse array of stakeholders, focused on several key issues including the eradication of harmful substances, such as Kush, illegal activities like Guinea Boat operations, mining, and fishing, as well as strategies to combat the influx of such substances.

Among the notable attendees were the Paramount Chief Representative, Officer Commanding Gbangbatoke Police Station, RSLAF Navy representatives, Chiefdom Youth Leader, Section Chief of Gbangbatoke, National Revenue Authority (NRA) Representative, and various other community leaders and officials.

The ONS provided an overview of the security situation, emphasizing the importance of collaboration for peace and national security. Superintendent Osman S. Mansaray of Gbangbatoke Police Station chaired the meeting, ensuring a peaceful environment for all stakeholders to contribute.

Contributions from stakeholders included proposals from the RSLAF Navy to establish surveillance teams to monitor illicit activities and illegal fishing, while the Maritime Officer highlighted the need for cooperation in enforcing boating regulations, particularly at night.

The Drivers Union Chairman expressed support for security checkpoints to maintain peace, emphasizing passenger education regarding the transportation of illicit substances. Boat Owners Chairman reinforced the importance of communication channels for boats and the consequences for violating regulations.

Immigration officials pledged to address illegal immigration and ensure proper documentation, while the Community Health Officer stressed the harmful effects of substances like Kush and the importance of enforcing national laws.

Town Chief Junior Pessima welcomed the intervention, while Councilor Marvel Y. Bendu expressed gratitude for stakeholders’ commitment and advocated for continued meetings to foster development.

As a result of the summit, Lower Banta Chiefdom and its surrounding communities remain peaceful and calm, with stakeholders united in their efforts to address security challenges and promote collective well-being.

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