Republic of Sierra Leone Minister of Internal Affairs Mr David Panda-Noah and the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) Dr Ambrose Michael Sovula were on a five-day working visit to Nigeria Police Headquarters and the Nigerian Police Training Institute in Abuja, to boost bilateral cooperation agreement, address national and regional security challenges, regional and transnational threat and crimes, intelligence sharing and workforce development and to deepen the relationship bond between the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Welcoming the delegates, the Minister of Police Affairs Mohamed Maigari Dingyadi in Abuja declared the purpose of the meeting and heartily applauded the Sierra Leone Team led by the Minister of Internal Affairs Mr David Panda-Noah for their visit. He said he believes in cooperation as both countries had experienced civil war and are as well facing serious security challenges and there is, therefore, a need to come together and enable their security personnel to secure the regions. Adding that plans are underway by the Nigerian government to offer admission to intending police officers to acquire more strategic courses on policing at the Nigeria Institute of Studies and other Institutions. He pointed out that such synergy between Nigeria and Sierra Leone would enhance the efficiency of rank and regular members of the police to secure the West African regions.
In his address, the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Usman Alkali Baba warmly welcomed the Team and said their visit marked another collaborative milestone in their common effort to enhance the professional capacity of police officers in both countries, especially at the strategic leadership level. Adding that, crime is dynamic and it’s increasingly transnational in its planning, both perfection and execution. According to him, the impact of crime also resonates beyond the borders where it is committed, hence, it is only through bilateral cooperation of this nature that nations can successfully and speedily confront regional and global threats.
The IGP further stated that he looks forward to paying back the visit in due course with a view of building on the foundation they have established to a mutually rewarding engagement that would not only change the Policing narratives in Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the long run but also advance their quest to strengthen their Police Forces and present a common regional front especially towards tackling crimes and security threats within the West African Subregions.
Responding, the Republic of Sierra Leone Minister of Internal Affairs and leader of the delegation Mr David Panda-Noah expressed gratitude on behalf of the President and the people of Sierra Leone to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their hospitality. He thanked the IGP’s of the two Police Forces (SLP & NPF) for their foresight in initiating collaboration between the security sector in the two nations. He described crimes in Nigeria and Sierra Leone as the same, noting that it is only through bilateral cooperation between the two West African Countries that shared most of the behaviour in common that can help address the transnational security challenges in the West Africa regions.
He opined that the synergy for training police officers has indeed created a tremendous impact on the hunger for providing quality policing Services in Sierra Leone, and hoped that the signing of the cooperation agreement would enable both countries to perfect a memorandum of understanding that would help evolve and redouble a collaborative Policing services between the two West African Countries.
Panda-Noah revealed that his President and government vision is education for development which is embodied in human capital development, which necessitated the idea of sending some Police officers to attend the Strategic Leadership Training Course at the Nigerian Institute of Police Studies, and stressed the urgent need for African Countries to unite, synergize and collaborate to combat transnational challenges.
In his remarks, Sierra Leone”s Inspector General of Police Dr Ambrose Michael Sovula appreciated the IGP in Abuja, Alkali Baba and commended the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for their relentless and collaborative effort especially in the area of training and capacity building, and expressed hope that he believes the collaboration would strengthen the strategic management and operations in the SLP. He said he could recall the relationship between Nigeria and Sierra Leone since its inception, and thanked the IGP Usman Alkali Baba and Team for accepting 10 participants from the SLP who attended the Strategic Leadership and Command Course this year, at the National Institute of Police Studies (NIPS), in Abuja.
According to him, feedback from his personnel indicates that the Strategic Leadership and Command Course is important for the strategic management and operational viability of his organization, which shows that the investment in sending the personnel on the course was a worthy one.
“My hope is to have this relationship cemented and sustained for the benefit of the two Police organizations in due course. This is why I originated the Cooperation Agreement and shared it with my brother for his input and I hope we shall sign that agreement”. Said Dr Sovula.
The trip was a success, as the cooperation agreement was signed and 10 (ten) Senior Police Officers graduated, which was witnessed by a Team of high-powered delegations and speakers from both countries. Meanwhile, a space for 10 (ten) other Senior Police Officers was granted to Sierra Leone for the Strategic Leadership and Command Course in October 2021.
By Anita Bockarie