Written by Alagie Manneh

The Gambia’s new Interior Minister has issued a strong warning to criminals and people who violate the laws to understand that such business as usual is over and that the laws of the land will be applied to the latter.

Mai Ahmed Fatty said his ministry is as well ready and committed to fight against financially motivated non-violent crimes committed by business and government professionals.

In an interview with journalists on Wednesday shortly after been sworn-in on as member of President Barrow’s new cabinet, the astute lawyer also promised to fight against cyber-crimes, saying all those involved are being put on notice.

“The innovative methods of committing crimes are a threat to national security and we are going to be very vigilant. We call on every Gambian to be a police officer, to be an immigration officer. Every Gambian must come forward to help us protect this country so that we can develop. Without peace, without security, there will be no development,” Minister Fatty told reporters.

He promised to bring crime rates down and protect Gambian borders. “We will ensure incursions on both north and south of the river Gambia are protected fully” he assured.

Minister Fatty said the protection of Gambian lives and properties are his own protection, adding it is key to the government.

“We will ensure that the Gambia remains peaceful, a stable and a compassionate nation where everybody, regardless of who you are or where you come from will be able to deliver according to your means and according to your abilities and the opportunities that are available” he said.

On whether Gambians can expect a total ban on the notorious NIA or a major reform, the Gambian lawyer now minister said “What you need to understand is that the NIA first was created by a decree. This decree was validated by the Constitution because the Constitution defines laws of The Gambia. Among the laws of The Gambia includes existing laws that include decrees that were passed even by the AFPRC in their hay days and then subsequently became an Act of Parliament” he said.

He added: “As a government that is grounded on the rule of law and on constitutionality, you just don’t ban the NIA because it was created by law. The president cannot just ban the NIA without going through due process. He stated in his maiden press conference in the Gambia here, we are going to look at this issue very critically and very closely. We will make sure the NIA as the President intends to rename it will perform its role within the constitution and within the laws and the whole Gambia will see a huge change that the functions and the operational activities of the NIA now SIS as it call now, will change fundamentally to serve the interest of The Gambia and Gambians and not as we used to know it” he assured.