National Civil Society Council of Liberia Condemns Eviction of Marketers from Red Light

Monrovia – The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has frowned on the Government of Liberia for forcefully evicting marketers from the Red-light and Gobachup Markets, stressing that amidst the politics of COVID-19, forceful eviction of the people from the markets was premature, irrational and miscalculated.

In a release issued on Wednesday, the Civil Society Council argued that a market run predominately by women in an impoverished economy should not have been evicted in the manner and form in which the so called relocation exercise was initiated; adding that “The planned action of eviction against the market people was callously conceived, harshly implemented and completely misguided.” 

Excerpt of the CSO Council’s statement: “The Civil Society Council notes with grave interest that women are special people with special needs that must have been acknowledged and adequate provisions made to compensate for those needs before any form of eviction exercise was imagined. Firstly, forcefully evicting market women without necessarily creating the objective conditions that considerably facilitates their relocation or provide accommodation for the all-inclusive wellbeing of the people qualifies for nothing but a mirage of mere political grandstanding.”

It continued: “The National Civil Society Council of Liberia believes that the action of the government was an uncivilized, barbaric and ill-conceived conspiracy against the market people. The hasty and uncoordinated manner and form in which this eviction exercise was hatched against market women leaves us to wonder whether this government is truly a pro-poor administration or a total misrepresentation of its own administrative mantra.”

The Council expressed shock over the government’s action and said it could not believe that a pro-poor government will forcefully evict ‘the very poor and wretched of its people’ from a dried land only to dump them into muddy shrubs and erosion-flooded swamps with no considerations, whatsoever, for water, sanitation and hygiene.

Recently, the government ordered the abrupt re-location of marketers from Liberia’s largest market hub to the newly constructed site at Omega. The move has met with staunch criticism as most of the marketers complained that they were not served prior notice to allow them be fully prepared for the relocation.

The CSO Council, joining these marketers, predominantly women, said they are still dumfounded and refuse to accept that the Liberian Government will cruelly drag market women into such unacceptable conditions especially amidst the fight on COVID-19 without making any accommodation for food security so that those who trade in perishable goods could have means to protect their investments.

“It is considerably saddened that at the very behest of the regime, the people on whose backs and sweats it rose to power and authority are sadly becoming the preys on which it feeds as a predictor against the economic, social and cultural rights of the people.”

The Council, describing the government’s action as a complete travesty, said that times like these when the people are compelled to face, fight and defeat a new but troubling surge of COVID-19, it becomes only unreasonable and callous for their own government to impose additional burden of hardships on them in the form and manner of abusing their economic social and cultural rights under the flimsy disguise of enforcing relocation.

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