The unprecedented state of lawlessness and indiscipline in Sierra Leone is appalling to a significant degree of seriousness that it has triggered a duo strategic partnership engagement between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat on Tuesday 31st May, 2016.
In his statement, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Major (Rtd.) Alfred Paulo Conteh expressed delight on the move taken by the ABC to consider his Ministry as a partnering option in a bid to stem lawlessness and indiscipline which are on the increase in Sierra Leone; he admitted that there is a serious challenge of indiscipline and defiance at all cadres of society. Meanwhile, he maintained that they have started to address the challenges perpetrated by the commercial bike riders in which the Ministry is basically asking the riders to comply with the traffic regulations and other related statutory provisions in the law books of Sierra Leone. At present, the Minister cited, there is 80% compliance to some of the rules including putting on of crash helmet. He stressed that the next point of call shall focus on their licenses and insurance.
“I am not asking for a pound of flesh, all I am saying behave in accordance with the laws of Sierra Leone,” he intimated.
Major (Rtd.) Conteh unequivocally stated that Sierra Leone is in trouble because the country’s morals and values are eroding and most people particularly politicians hardly realise this, because their interest is anchored on their political parties and thirst for political powers. He empathically stated that he is not desperate for political powers or election votes and therefore will not leave any stone unturned in trying to restore sanity and discipline in the country. The Internal Affairs Minister referenced that law enforcement has helped countries like Rwanda to excel, and expressed hope that with determination and commitment Sierra Leone will achieve such.
“What I believe in I go after it; Sierra Leone has to change,” he assured.
Among other societal menaces the Minister and his team promised to address include street trading, filthiness in the City, and indiscipline within the school system. Maj. (Rtd.) Paulo Conteh ended by encouraging the youth to be very instrumental in society by engaging in meaningful activities.
“We will not achieve our ultimate goal if we are not discipline.”
He assured the ABC of close collaboration and looked forward to the sustainability of the partnership. Major (Rtd.) Alfred Paulo Conteh used the occasion to commend the ABC team for a phenomenal contribution to the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The Executive Director of the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas congratulated the Minister on his appointment stating that His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has not misplaced his confidence by appointing Maj. (Rtd.) Alfred Paulo Conteh as Minister of Internal Affairs.
Dr. Thomas averred that the ABC has embraced the new dispensation of building up strategic partnership with relevant influential institutions of state as a collective means to fight against negative attitude and behaviour which include indiscipline and lawlessness. He continued that though the Secretariat has been mandated to take the lead in influencing positive attitude and behaviour in the socio-economic, political and cultural dynamics of the state, yet “we cannot do it in isolation,” and thus the need for collaboration with other institutions like the Ministry of Internal Affairs is a primacy.
He applauded the effort being made by the Minister to tackle the defiance attitude of commercial bike riders in the country. Bike riding, according to Dr. Thomas is a growing industry in Sierra Leone creating job opportunities for many youths, but because majority of these youths are exhibiting lawlessness and indiscipline it has become a menace. He believed that the rule of law is the supreme authority in any democratic state and should be upheld to achieve sanity and order in society. He pledged that the ABC will continue to support the Government in the fight against indiscipline and lawlessness among the motorbike riders.
He briefed the Minister that the ABC had conducted a nationwide public education with bike riders and subsequently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them on compliance to the codes of conduct and certain moral disciplines dealing with their trade, but since then there has been very minimal achievement because of lack of law enforcement. He continued that the ABC has been using the carrot approach to effect change in society for a considerable period but with very little to write about because of lack of enforcement power. He appealed to the Government to continue to institute the amain approach so that sanity can be restored to our society.
“If there is no compliance to rules and regulations then our labour is in vain,” he cautioned.