By Yusufu S. Bangura
In a bid to aid the fight against cyber-crimes in Sierra Leone, the National Cybersecurity Unit at the Ministry of Information and Communications, has donated cyber equipment to the Cyber Unit of the Sierra Leone Police.
The donated items were computers, hard drives, and Memory sticks.
The donation ceremony took place on Monday 13th March 2023 at the Sierra Leone Police Headquarters on George Street in Freetown, during the usual police press briefing.
Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, who witnessed the ceremony, said that in 2018, Sierra Leone was one of the countries that were named and shamed for not implementing cybersecurity laws.
He noted that it was part of the conditions that precedent for the landing of the fibre cable here in Sierra Leone, adding that African leaders, including the former President of Sierra Leone had already signed up to the Malabo Accord which is the African Union blueprint for cybersecurity and data protection.
Minister Swaray said at that time, ECOWAS had also passed directives on cybersecurity and data protection.
“After the embarrassment, I was faced with challenges, I licked my wounds, but I made a passionate appeal to the global community that Sierra Leone wanted to be a respectable member of the global community, and therefore needs help to build the country’s cybersecurity and resilience,” he said.
He disclosed that many aids followed his plea which led to the formulation of a Cybersecurity Act, and a unit within the Ministry.
He said the formulation of the Act should not be part of politics, noting that anyone may be affected by cybersecurity crimes, hence the need to implement the law and protect the people of Sierra Leone.
He added that there was a need to invest in more training, capacity infrastructure, among other things.
National Cyber Security Coordinator at the Ministry of Information and Communication, Mariama Yormah, started speaking on the difference between cybercrime and traditional crime, adding that there was a need to strengthen the law enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime.
“If we do not strengthen them, it will be difficult for the institutions charged with the responsibility to enforce the law to fight cybercrimes appropriate,” she said.
Yormah disclosed that they have organized pieces of training for the Judiciary and the police, adding that those pieces of training took place in and out of the country.
She stressed on the need for more training for the force and the need for the provision of more equipment to aid their work.
She however assured the SLP of more support, just if the SLP utilize the donated equipment for its appropriate use.
Receiving the donated items, the Director of Operations, Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Mohamed Brima Jah, assured that the donated items will be used for their intended purpose.
AIG Jah acknowledged the support which the SLP has over the years received from the Government of Sierra Leone and he said they are looking forward to receive more support from Government and partners.