ONS Assures Security
November 3, 2017 By Ransford Felix & Dusuba Koroma
Director of Planning and Intelligence Relations at the Office of National Security (ONS) yesterday assured that his institution has put in place the necessary security measures ahead of the Mach 7, 2018 elections.
Francis L. Keili gave the assurance at the weekly Ministry of Information press briefing at Youyi Building, Freetown, yesterday.
He noted that the success of every election is predicated upon the level of security preparedness, adding that they have commenced planning in collaboration with the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee which emanated from directives of the Security Council of the ONS since 2015.
“The ONS has been bestowed with the responsibility of planning and developing strategies, mobilising resources and developing training programmes which will ensure a sustainable communication strategy for the electioneering process,” he told pressmen.
According to him, the ONS has developed a training manual for all security personnel ahead of the crucial electioneering process and assured of their determination to ensure that the security sector operates as a hybrid unit.
“We will be collaborating with the Sierra Leone Police to provide internal security. The National Electoral Commission required the police to deploy personnel at the 8,400 polling stations across the country. The police alone cannot provide adequate security and we are bound to intervene,” he said.
He noted that officials from the National Fire Force, Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Metropolitan Police and Chiefdom Police would be part of the hybrid security arrangement.
He revealed that personnel from ONS would cover the sixteen electoral districts within Sierra Leone for 28 uninterrupted days to carry out district risk mapping and national threat assessment.
Mr. Keili said ONS officials have undergone series of training programmes sponsored by the Americans, Germans and at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre.
He added that the Conflict Prevention Fund programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has deployed an election training adviser, data analyst and communications and training consultants at the ONS.
“In order for ONS to have a credible, professional and non-partisan security sector, they will be engaging political parties on 22nd and 23rd November, 2017 to discuss the need for a non-violent and peaceful 2018 elections,” he concluded.