Sequel to the wind of change that affected the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Services last week, Staff at the Immigration department yesterday demanded the immediate resignation of the Chief Immigration Officer, Ms Alice Kamara.
Passport applicants and commuters were shocked to witness the main entrance of the immigration building barricaded with placards plastered on the outside wall saying “Alice Kamara go we are tired, of dictatorship and Alice must go now.”
The Regional Immigration Officer, Abdul Karim Bangura explained to Awoko that the strike was initiated because of the deplorable conditions at the immigration department.
He said he was in charge of interviewing passport applicants and after establishing that applicants were Sierra Leonean, their forms should be approved.
“When I have finally approved that the passport applicant is a Sierra Leone, I have the authority to approve the form and there is nothing more but to print the applicant’s passport. But it is rather unfortunate that for any time the applicant has passed the interview, it is the time Ms Kamara will call for the passport forms to re-examine the contents of the application”. The official claimed.
Mr Bangura gave an example of a student at Njala University who applied for a passport and passed the interview but even though he presented his college identity card plus his acceptance letter, Ms Kamara said the applicant did not know whether he will proceed to the following year, thus disapproving his passport.
He said they had made complains about the attitude of the Chief Immigration boss to officials of the previous governments.
He explained that in a meeting presided over by former internal affairs minister, Pascal Egbenda, they highlighted these concerns but nothing was done.
“We want the public to know that we are not working in our interest but in their own interest. When most of the passport applicants come to the office they pounce on us for their passport and most have either lost their traveling chances or documents” he charged.
He continued “we want to provide services to the people but the immigration boss is stifling us and we do not want any body to come and wreck this place.”
The passport issue according to Mr Bangura was just one issue as there were other administrative problems.
“If the government did not take any action we will continue to strike and on no account shall we accept Ms Kamara as our boss” he charged.
One of the passport applicants, Alpha Mansaray explained that he had applied for a passport since April but has still not yet been approved. “when I applied the Immigration Chief asked me to bring my father’s birth certificate but I could not because my father is dead and I could not lay hands on it. They have frustrated my traveling plans” he said.