GID poised to curb illegal migration: -Vows to introduce Sea Horse Network System soon
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
As the debate on the thorny issue of illegal migration becomes more intensified with daily reports of boats capsizing here and there, the Gambia Immigration Department has vowed to curb the practice in The Gambia.
The department is on course to introduce what it calls the Seahorse Network System, a satellite surveillance system which is one of the most effective weapons in arresting illegal migration. The deputy director general of The Gambia Immigration Department, Buba Sangnia, revealed this development to the Daily Observer, yesterday, during an exclusive interview. According to the Immigration No. 2, the security system will aim on improving on the existing communications and data exchange between the European Union and African countries in the fight against illegal migration and other issues of global concern such as smuggling and drug trafficking. He added that the system also consists of a secure satellite communications network, maintaining that it is the proper weapon to curb illegal migration.
Among the most significant capabilities of this system is that it will secure communications through double data scrambling, transmission of files, images, text, multi-language interface (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish), VoLP communications among the centres and with tactical communication systems.
This satellite surveillance device, which is already in countries like Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde, according to Deputy Director General Sanyang, will also link countries like Guinea-Bissau, and Morocco.
This development, he said, will go a long way in reducing the trend of illegal migration which, he said, has increased since last year. "Between 2006/7, we had an increase in illegal migration but it reduced the following year. The trend continued until at the tail end of that year when it rose up again to this day.’’ he said. Sanyang went on to note that the upsurge in report on the phenomenon is also due to the fact that most Gambians who embark on these perilous journeys starts their journeys from locations outside this country.
The immigration deputy director general went on to reveal that his department has prevented over 300 attempted illegal migrants from leaving the Gambian shores from 2008 to date, adding that the immigration department has also registered over 1000 illegal migrant returnees from various European countries since 2006 to date.
Reacting to the recent deadly sea accident in Libya involving over 300 African illegal migrants, he conveyed the department’s condolences to the bereaved families in The Gambia, describing the incident as unfortunate. The reasons for such sea accidents, according to him, are usually due to the fact that illegal migrants and the human traffickers lack total understanding of the routes on high seas, causing them to venture into the most dangerous routes.
At this juncture, he urged would-be illegal migrants to completely distance themselves from any thought of undertaking this kind of journey, stressing that it is worth nothing to risk one’s lives. He emphasised that the government of the day has put the interest of the youths high on its development agenda. While the illegal migrants maintain the strong concept that venturing into high seas for Europe is the only way out, Sanyang argued that making a better and decent living in the country is more reassuring. "This," he added, "is even more reassuring especially at this point in time when the current government has already created the enabling environment for the teeming youthful population." Being patience, hard working and content, according to the Immigration Department’s second in command, could earn one a decent and better living. He made reference to foreigners who toil hard in the country and become successful.
To those engaged in the dastardly act of practicing human trafficking, Sanyang issued a stern warning, reminding them that "the trade is illegal". He attributed it to brain drain, as the country loses its youths population who are mostly ignorant about the whole thing. "We are on constant monitoring and any one caught would be brought to court," he warned, while reiterating their total commitment to leaving no stone unturned when it comes to curbing the seemingly unending phenomenon.
Sanyang also had unreserved words of advice for the general public, particularly parents, calling on them to desist completely from encouraging their sons to venture into illegal migration. He called on the masses to be faithful and to be content in life, noting that the ‘back way’, as it is commonly referred to, is by no means the solution.
Author: by Hatab Fadera