Pressure Mounts on Sen. Dillon to Recall His Sponsored Bill Following Justice Ministry’s Action on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Citizenship of Natural-born Liberian

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Monrovia – Following the recent development from the Supreme Court as it relates to its ruling on dual citizenship, this newspaper has received cogent pieces of information that calls are mounting on Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon for him to recall his sponsored draft bill on supporting dual citizenship for natural-born Liberians, who are citizens of other countries.

According to sources, the bill that the Senator submitted in March of 2021, was done under the auspices of The All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), which includes the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), Liberian Advocacy for Change (LAC), Federation of Liberia Communities in Australia (FLCA), United Liberian Association of Ghana (ULAG), Liberian Association of Canada (LAC), and Conference of Liberian Organizations in Southwestern United States of America (CLOSUSA).

In this bill, ALCOD is proposing that the Legislature amends Part III, Chapter 20, Section 20.1; Chapter 21, Sections 21.30, 21.31, 21.51 and 21.52; and Chapter 22, Sections 22.1, 22.2 & 22.4. of the Aliens and Nationality Law of the Liberian Codes of Law Revised, Vol. II”

Since Sen. Dillon introduced the bill on the Senate floor, it was sent into committee room for perusal and advise to plenary but nothing tangible has been done about it and “it is only gathering dusts on the shelf.”

Even though the bill was developed by diaspora Liberians in consultations with Cllr.  Archibald F. Bernard, Legal Advisor to President George Manneh Weah, it is yet to gather steam from members of the committee.

Some senators, who have confided in this newspaper, stated that as long it was Senator Dillon who submitted and is the lead sponsor behind the bill, it is going to “die naturally”. Their main reason is that Sen. Dillon was one of those who led a massive campaign during the December 2020 Special Senatorial Election against similar proposal on dual citizen and that because of such anti-campaign, the proposed amendment to this provision in the Liberian Constitution was rejected by the voters.

“Here is the man, who convinced people not to vote for this amendment during the Referendum than he turns around and submits similar bill calling for the same thing the President had proposed. What do you make of such a person? Is he a serious politician?” one of committee’s members asked.

What President Weah Submitted for Referendum

This is what the President had submitted among eight other proposals for amendment: Article 28: “Amend the constitutional rights of citizenship. Citizenship is granted automatically if both parents were Liberian citizens at the time of their birth; the amendments proposed require only one parent to be a Liberian citizen, removes the ability of the government to legislate to remove citizenship of natural born citizens and prohibits citizens with dual citizenship from holding senior positions, including justices of the Supreme Court, ministerial positions, heads of government agencies, ambassadorships and the chief of staff and deputy chief of staff of the military.”

How The Senator Got Involved 

When Dillon was running to be Senator of Montserrado County, he had travelled to the US to gather more support for his bid. He promised the Friends of Darius Dillon in Detroit, Michigan, that he would have led such a fight to see them being recognized legally as Liberians. He had promised to push a dual citizenship bill to be passed in the Legislature.

After the election, a bill was developed and accepted by all of the Liberian organizations in the diaspora, and it was suggested by some that Sen. Dillon was not the right person to be the lead pusher of the bill given that he had massively campaign against the proposed amendment in the Referendum in December 2020.

However, it is said that Mr. Emmanuel Yarto, who headed the Friends of Darius Dillon in Michigan, along with others, travelled to Liberia and urged the Senator to introduce the bill on the Senate floor. Yarto and others had come under the umbrella, “One Liberia.”

Use Emergency Senate Sitting to Recall It

With the mounting calls on the Senator, it is the hope of at least two leaders of some of the diaspora Liberian groups, that he does everything to recall his draft bill so that they (diaspora Liberians) can work with all members of the House and Senate for its reintroduction and speedy amendment and or passage.

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