Merely holding a press conference is a significant step taken by the SIS (formerly NIA). This was the unthinkable in the previous regime when the people saw the NIA headquarters as a place of torture and other forms inhuman and degrading punishment or treatment.
To hold a press conference means the intelligence agency is subjecting itself to accountability. At the press conference the Director General gave the intelligence agency the posture of intelligence service as opposed to the image it used to have – that of a band of marauders abducting people from their homes at ungodly hours. But there is a lot of challenges. The former NIA has a very bad image and only practice can give it integrity and enable it to win the confidence of the people.
As a matter of urgency it has to clear its name in the LCpl Samboujang Bojang incident or admit that it was a teething problem that would never reoccur.
It is significant to note that a change of name is far from solving the problems of such an oppressive state institution that has ruined the lives of many people. Drastic measures must be taken to reform it as was outlined this year.
But more significantly, the name SIS is not known to the law or the Constitution, which talk about the National Intelligence Agency. Section 191 of the Constitution states: “There shall bea National Intelligence Agency which shall be under the command of the President.”
To build the new Gambia, sovereign conscious Gambians must be born, new laws must come into being, news institutions must emerge, administrative measures (sometimes drastic) must be taken and observance of the rule of law must be the order of the day.