Monrovia – Over 52 of the 84 stranded Liberian scholarship students in Morocco Wednesday, July 31st, stormed the Liberian Embassy in that country with their belongings, including mattresses, comforters and suitcases, demanding to speak with their country’s President, Mr. George Weah, for their 10-month allowances.
Peter Kollie, a high school graduate from the St Martin’s Catholic High School, one of the seven 2017/18 academic year WASSCE scholarship students sent by President Weah to Morocco was one of those with placard. Kollie and others were sent last November.
“We are literary dying day-by-day; some of us are living in darkness and are thrown out of our apartments. Therefore, if we cannot receive our allowances we will remain here until we talk to President Weah so, he can tell us when we will get our allowances, or we will stay here until we speak with him,” Kollie said.
In a short video posted by student leader John Singbae, some of his colleagues are seen lying down on their comforters in front of the Liberian Embassy. A few of them have been sleeping there since they were thrown out of their apartments.
Lewis Rogers, 17, another seven of 2017/18 academic year WASSCE scholarship students said, “I live at a place where I have to pay US$8 every day on transportation to come for classes, and now my allowances have not been paid so I cannot afford to come to school and moreover, I was thrown out of my apartment. We will not leave from here until we speak to President Weah, who sent us here. We are not willing to listen to anybody unless we speak to the President,” Rogers said.
Patrick Freeman, 19, held a placard with this inscription: “Scholarship is not hardship.” He, too, said they will continue to sleep at the embassy until they can hear from President Weah, because they are tired hearing excuses from the Finance and Education Ministries.
“We need our ten-month allowances or we are not leaving the Embassy. We do not have food and water; we have been here for ten months. We were thrown outside into the streets and the government is not sending our allowances.”
Another placard held by a student, read: “Mr. Ambassador, we won’t leave from here until we speak with the President.”
Holding a placard, that said “Hungry man cannot go to school,” Rufus Travers, said he has been in Morocco for 10 months. According to him, he had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government and that the government was going to send him monthly allowance, to take care of feeding, transportation and medical insurance.
“The situation is serious; as I speak to you now, I am hungry. It is difficult to buy bread. We are hungry; we are not sleeping with lights and water. Therefore, we are here with our suitcases and we won’t leave from here until we speak with President Weah.”
Amed Jallor, another student said; “I am feeling very bad; I do not have money, so I cannot feed myself.”
In the video, Mr. Emmanuel Lammie, First Secretary of the Liberian Embassy, came to address the students.
“We saw some of you here with your mattresses, we told you we are in contact with the government, which is working on your behalf to make sure your needs are met. Contacts have been made, and we will get back to you with the message by this afternoon,” Lammie said.
He told the students that they are Liberia’s future leaders. He, however, made the students angry when he said, “Being leaders goes with a lot of responsibilities; it does not mean obstruct the operations of the embassy and shut it down, because where your rights end is where another person’s right begins. So, while we are waiting for the response from the government, we ask that you go home.”
In response, the student shouted, “No, we are not leaving from here to go anywhere. Since you say we are obstructing operations, we all will still here and shut down the embassy until the President addresses the issue.”
The Government has regularly sent students under the MOU that it will pay them their monthly allowances quarterly, until the completion of their studies. The students are to return and serve in various government agencies upon the completion of their studies.
Some of the Liberian scholarship students in the Kingdom of Morocco have been there since 2013. They are currently doing their Master’s programs. The seven students, who performed extraordinary in the 2017/18 academic year WASSCE exams, are among the number sent last November. Therefore, the total number sent was 54, plus the previous 30. This increased the Liberian students to 84.