Liberia: Senate Committee Slams Security Chiefs Over Lapses

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The Grand Gedeh lawmaker called for swift intervention into the situation by the government and urge the  constituting a taskforce that will visit the areas under discussions to stabilize the situation and solve the brewing crisis between the locals and those foreigners who are illegally crossing and taking farm land for the purpose of planting tree crops.

Monrovia – Senator Alphonso Gaye (UP- Grand Gedeh County) made no secret of his feelings during Wednesday’s Senate hearing with heads of the country’s security sector, telling the security apparatus he would fire all of them for negligence of duty, if he were President George Weah.

The Grand Gedeh County lawmaker made the comment during discussions bordering National Security specifically the crossing into Liberia by Foreigners mainly those from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso who are said to be entering Liberia through its porous borders and occupying land illegally for farming.

Said Senator Gaye: “To be frank with you guys, if I was President Weah today I would have fired all of you for the negligence of duty, not being proactive and for being complacent. I would have fired the minister of internal Affairs early morning for giving too many excuses.”

The Senator frowned on the Security Sector chiefs for not taking action that would resolve the situation of illegal entry of foreigners into the country.  Senator Gaye’s comment was a result of a presentation made by the Police Inspector general Patrick Sudue on the situation in Grand Gedeh County.

In his presentation, IG Sudue displayed photos, videos and documents showing the entry points used by foreigners and some of the documents that are breeding land conflict between locals and those Ivorians and Burkinabe.

The Grand Gedeh lawmaker called for swift intervention into the situation by the government and urge the constituting a task force that will visit the areas under discussions to stabilize the situation and solve the brewing crisis between the locals and those foreigners who are illegally crossing and taking farmland for the purpose of planting tree crops. “The government also needs to communicate with its Ivorian Counterpart to inform them about the level of intrusion by these Ivorians and Burkinabe.”

Senator Marshall Dennis (CDC-Grand Gedeh County) recently alarmed over the intrusion of hundreds of Burkinabe from neighboring Ivory Coast and other countries into Grand Gedeh County, where they are illegally farming and occupying the land.

“To be frank with you guys, if I was President Weah today I would have fired all of you for the negligence of duty, not being proactive and for being complacent. I would have fired the minister of internal Affairs early morning for giving too many excuses.”

– Alphonso Gaye, Senator, Grand Gedeh County

Senator Dennis in a Communication, said the illegal migrants, approximately nine thousand are already encroaching on lands illegally.

“They are doing farming and planting cocoa. Who knows whether they are even carrying out illegal mining because no one is policing them with no benefits for people and to the Republic of Liberia? In the intelligence report from the police, there are some Liberians who are bringing people   into Liberia and promising them land for farming.”

The Grand Gedeh County Senator also expressed fears that if nothing is done urgently, Liberia stands a risk of losing some of its land space to its neighbors because of some of the illegal occupation of people from Burkina-Faso and other nationals. 

Recently, during another Senate appearance of Mr. Gesler Murray, Minister of Mines and Energy warned that if care is not taken, the increase in social marginalization of Liberians at various mining sites around the country could degenerate into xenophobic and reprisal actions that could trigger a degree of social unrest.

His comments were in response to reports about many Liberian men at mining sites complaining that their girlfriends and spouses are being taken away by illicit Ghanaian miners who have better economic benefits owing to their illicit mining activities.

The minister said, what is more, appalling is the news that some young girls have been subjected to sexual-based violence and abuse and in some instances, these girls are being used for pornographic movies. “The social fabric is being eroded by young girls leaving school and becoming breadwinners for their families.”

Minister Murray was invited by the Senate to provide update on mining activities in the country, especially in the wake of reports of foreigner’s evading Liberia’s mining sector and carrying out illicit mining activities. 

The minister told the Senate about how the illegal mining sector is being dominated by Ghanaians and other nationals. Said the minister: “Even though dominant foreign nationalities involve in illicit mining activities are Ghanaians, there are also other nationals in these activities to include Malians, people from Burkina Faso, Ivorians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans. Without bias, the presence of citizens of Burkina Faso and Malians tend to raise some eyebrow as Mali and Burkina Faso are now confronted with the task of active jihadist militants.”

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