Liberia: ALJA condemns Thuggery at Senator Johnson’s Church
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is urging the Liberian government to with immediate effect institute a probe into the reported disruption of the regular Sunday morning worship at the Christ Chapel of Faith Ministry of Nimba County Senator, Prince Johnson.
ALJA called on President Manneh Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC)-Government to muster the courage to arrest and prosecute those individuals who bear responsibility for this reckless and misguided action.
The Association says failure on the part of the Justice Ministry and the Liberia National Police to deal decisively with such blatant disregard for the rule of law and the infringement of the constitutionally protected right to freely worship by all Liberians could negatively impact the prevailing peace and security in the country
In a Press release issued on Tuesday, May 22, 2023, the Association said this brazen act of hooliganism carried out by the individuals who are reportedly members of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and supporters of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, is deeply troubling; and such behavior has no place in Liberia’s current political dispensation.
According to news reports, the youth group on Sunday, May 21, 2023, stormed the premises of the Christ Chapel of Faith Ministry, chanting anti- Prince Johnson slogans such as “war crimes court”. The strong-arm behavior and intimidation by the so-called NPP supporters forced Senator Johnson to prematurely end the service and sent the worshippers home. The reports quoted Peter Blidii, Jr, one of the leaders of the group as saying that their actions were precipitated by Senator Johnson’s decision to respond in kind to a prior criticism by Vice President Taylor against him.
The US based Liberian Journalist Association said the actions by the reported NPP supporters was ill-advised and is reminiscent of the country’s dark past where the constitutionally- guaranteed rights of Liberians were flagrantly trampled upon by agents of the ruling regime.
The Association said a similar incident occurred in July of 2022 when members of the Student Unification Party (SUP) of the University of Liberia, who had gathered on the grounds of the US Embassy to engage in a peaceful protect against the government, were violently attacked by members of the CDC-Council Patriots. During that incident, student Christopher Sivili of SUP was brutalized and tortured, in the visible presence of state security officers.
ALJA said government officials including Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, in whose name the perpetrators claimed they were acting, should go beyond the issuance of a mere statement of condemnation and ensure that the individuals responsible are held accountable.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian Journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 201c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 to foster companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts.