Liberia: Govt Apologizes for Not Acting Swiftly on The Late Zenu Miller’s Complaint of EPS Brutality

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The broadcast journalist died on February 15, weeks after he was brutalized by agents of the Executive Protection Service, elite security agency providing protection for the President and other VIPs

Monrovia – In the wake of condemnations from the public, the Government of Liberia through the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, has officially apologized to the family of fallen Liberian broadcast journalist Zenu Miller and members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for its failure to investigate complaints of the alleged flogging of the deceased by some agents of the elite presidential guard, the Executive Protection Service (EPS).

The ace broadcast journalist died on February 15 at the ELWA hospital in Paynesville barely few weeks after he had complained of severe chest pains. That was after his alleged manhandling by the EPS officers.

Since the incident was reported by both the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the fallen Liberian journalist prior to his demise, no investigation was launched by the government into the matter. 

Speaking at the signing of a Book of Condolence for the late Liberian journalist in Monrovia, Minister Nagbe disclosed that though he spoke with Zenu shortly after the incident, government failed to launch a probe into the matter.

He admitted that the high level of controversies surrounding the death of Mr. Miller is due to government’s failure to commission an inquiry when the issue was raised by Zenu with Deputy Information Minister, Boakai Fofana.

“We also want to sympathize with the bereaved family, the Press Union of Liberia, his friends and colleagues for this untimely demise. Zenu was an astute journalist who focused on his work, and contributed to our democratic process through the exercise of his function as a journalist,” Nagbe said.

According to Minister Nagbe, government also received calls from some of its bilateral partners for an autopsy to be conducted in order to establish the cause of death.

He disclosed that government has “tabled” the conduct of an autopsy because family members of the deceased have insisted to bury their relative in “peace”.

Minister Nagbe justified that the previous position stated by government as cause of Mr. Miller’s death was based upon the report presented by the family of the late Liberian journalist.

In a statement issued in Monrovia recently, the family of the late Zenu Miller disclosed that they believed in the medical report which established that he died as a result of severe hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke.

Minister Nagbe, however, denied media reports and speculations that Zenu’s family was coerced by government to rule out the conduct of an autopsy. 

“We should have done a robust investigation to find out what exactly happened and then met rightful punishment if there was culpability. The last time I met Zenu at OK FM, he was sick. I am not saying that nobody, including his family ever paid attention. But what we did as colleagues wasn’t sufficient. As we are all gathered here today, did we gather here like this to go to visit him at the hospital? No, we didn’t. It’s becoming the norm-journalists get sick, they die, we have a big ceremony and sign the book.”

– Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism

 “Though the government had intended to conduct an autopsy, we listened to the family and we tabled that idea of doing an autopsy that was requested by several local and international bodies including the Press Union of Liberia. We tabled it because of the family statement that was issued without any coercion or intervention on the part of the government”.

He continued: “I received calls from many civil society groups and some of our bilateral partners calling for an autopsy. The government interacted with the family and the family insists that they want to bury their son and father in peace; and thought that an autopsy would not be the right thing.”

Speaking further, Minister Nagbe disclosed that prior to his demise, Mr. Miller had complained of abandonment as a result of his ailing health condition.

According to him, many persons including government failed to pay attention to Mr. 

At the same time, Minister Nagbe has underscored the need for the resuscitation of the Welfare Committee of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

He attributed the mass exodus of professional journalists from the profession to the lack of adequate salaries to commensurate with the present-day realities, and health benefits, among others.

He added that though the journalism profession is a difficult job, media practitioners are not satisfactorily paid for the job they do.

“We have to go back to the welfare committee of the Press Union of Liberia because journalists hardly make any money. It’s a profession that is difficult with less pay. This is why you see the huge matriculation from the profession to other professions because it’s a vocation more than a profession; you worked and you hardly get any remuneration.  When you sick, nobody takes you to the hospital. There is no fall back, or health insurance. You earn hardly anything to sustain you.”

Minister Nagbe continued: “We should have done a robust investigation to find out what exactly happened and then met rightful punishment if there was culpability. The last time I met Zenu at OK FM, he was sick. I am not saying that nobody, including his family ever paid attention. But what we did as colleagues wasn’t sufficient. As we are all gathered here today, did we gather here like this to go to visit him at the hospital? No, we didn’t. It’s becoming the norm-journalists get sick, they die, we have a big ceremony and sign the book.”

Meanwhile, Minister Nagbe has outlined the significance role journalists continue to play towards the democratization process of the country.

According to him, no democracy can function adequately across the world without a functional media.

“Without the independent press or functioning media, we cannot have a functioning democracy. So, the press is indispensable to democracy; and therefore journalists are indispensable to democracy. Whether we like what they say or report about us, the guiding principle has to be that, we have to respect their job”.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr. John G. Miller described the situation as a difficult moment for the family, adding that Zenu was a “responsible husband and a team player”.

 “The family took the position based on the life that Zenu live. He lived as a quiet person but firm when he takes decisions. So, we decided to lay him to rest in peace in the midst of the rumours that we heard about what transpired at the SKD stadium. We also took the decision based on the medical report that we received from the ELWA hospital”.

Also speaking, the Vice President of the PUL, Daniel Nyakonah used the occasion to urge Liberian journalists to stand in solidarity with one another at all times.

He stated that the current level of solidarity among members of the Fourth Estate is discouraging.

 “We should never forget one another; we should stand by one another and check one another out so that we know our conditions. Our business of knowing one another should not just be as journalists holding recorders, or when we are giving lift to one another by the way side. We should also be there to check and understand that friend situation”. 

Nyakonah furthered: “At this point; it is one time in my life that solidarity among journalists is at its lowest that we will wait for things to erupt before we find the weaker point to gain moral high grounds. We should be there to avert situations that will embarrass our communities and country as a whole”.

Monrovia – In the wake of condemnations from the public, the Government of Liberia through the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, has officially apologized to the family of fallen Liberian broadcast journalist Zenu Miller and members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for its failure to investigate complaints of the alleged flogging of the deceased by some agents of the elite presidential guard, the Executive Protection Service (EPS).

The ace broadcast journalist died on February 15 at the ELWA hospital in Paynesville barely few weeks after he had complained of severe chest pains. That was after his alleged manhandling by the EPS officers.

Since the incident was reported by both the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the fallen Liberian journalist prior to his demise, no investigation was launched by the government into the matter. 

Speaking at the signing of a Book of Condolence for the late Liberian journalist in Monrovia, Minister Nagbe disclosed that though he spoke with Zenu shortly after the incident, government failed to launch a probe into the matter.

He admitted that the high level of controversies surrounding the death of Mr. Miller is due to government’s failure to commission an inquiry when the issue was raised by Zenu with Deputy Information Minister, Boakai Fofana.

“We also want to sympathize with the bereaved family, the Press Union of Liberia, his friends and colleagues for this untimely demise. Zenu was an astute journalist who focused on his work, and contributed to our democratic process through the exercise of his function as a journalist,” Nagbe said.

According to Minister Nagbe, government also received calls from some of its bilateral partners for an autopsy to be conducted in order to establish the cause of death.

He disclosed that government has “tabled” the conduct of an autopsy because family members of the deceased have insisted to bury their relative in “peace”.

Minister Nagbe justified that the previous position stated by government as cause of Mr. Miller’s death was based upon the report presented by the family of the late Liberian journalist.

In a statement issued in Monrovia recently, the family of the late Zenu Miller disclosed that they believed in the medical report which established that he died as a result of severe hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke.

Minister Nagbe, however, denied media reports and speculations that Zenu’s family was coerced by government to rule out the conduct of an autopsy. 

 “Though the government had intended to conduct an autopsy, we listened to the family and we tabled that idea of doing an autopsy that was requested by several local and international bodies including the Press Union of Liberia. We tabled it because of the family statement that was issued without any coercion or intervention on the part of the government”.

He continued: “I received calls from many civil society groups and some of our bilateral partners calling for an autopsy. The government interacted with the family and the family insists that they want to bury their son and father in peace; and thought that an autopsy would not be the right thing.”

Speaking further, Minister Nagbe disclosed that prior to his demise, Mr. Miller had complained of abandonment as a result of his ailing health condition.

According to him, many persons including government failed to pay attention to Mr. 

At the same time, Minister Nagbe has underscored the need for the resuscitation of the Welfare Committee of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

He attributed the mass exodus of professional journalists from the profession to the lack of adequate salaries to commensurate with the present day realities, and health benefits, among others.

He added that though the journalism profession is a difficult job, media practitioners are not satisfactorily paid for the job they do.

“We have to go back to the welfare committee of the Press Union of Liberia because journalists hardly make any money. It’s a profession that is difficult with less pay. This is why you see the huge matriculation from the profession to other professions because it’s a vocation more than a profession; you worked and you hardly get any remuneration.  When you sick, nobody takes you to the hospital. There is no fall back, or health insurance. You earn hardly anything to sustain you.”

Minister Nagbe continued: “We should have done a robust investigation to find out what exactly happened and then met rightful punishment if there was culpability. The last time I met Zenu at OK FM, he was sick. I am not saying that nobody, including his family ever paid attention. But what we did as colleagues wasn’t sufficient. As we are all gathered here today, did we gather here like this to go to visit him at the hospital? No, we didn’t. It’s becoming the norm-journalists get sick, they die, we have a big ceremony and sign the book.”

Meanwhile, Minister Nagbe has outlined the significance role journalists continue to play towards the democratization process of the country.

According to him, no democracy can function adequately across the world without a functional media.

“Without the independent press or functioning media, we cannot have a functioning democracy. So, the press is indispensable to democracy; and therefore journalists are indispensable to democracy. Whether we like what they say or report about us, the guiding principle has to be that, we have to respect their job”.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr. John G. Miller described the situation as a difficult moment for the family, adding that Zenu was a “responsible husband and a team player”.

 “The family took the position based on the life that Zenu live. He lived as a quiet person but firm when he takes decisions. So, we decided to lay him to rest in peace in the midst of the rumours that we heard about what transpired at the SKD stadium. We also took the decision based on the medical report that we received from the ELWA hospital”.

Also speaking, the Vice President of the PUL, Daniel Nyakonah used the occasion to urge Liberian journalists to stand in solidarity with one another at all times.

He stated that the current level of solidarity among members of the Fourth Estate is discouraging.

 “We should never forget one another; we should stand by one another and check one another out so that we know our conditions. Our business of knowing one another should not just be as journalists holding recorders, or when we are giving lift to one another by the way side. We should also be there to check and understand that friend situation”. 

Nyakonah furthered: “At this point; it is one time in my life that solidarity among journalists is at its lowest that we will wait for things to erupt before we find the weaker point to gain moral high grounds. We should be there to avert situations that will embarrass our communities and country as a whole”.

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