LIBERIA: GoL urged to address Fire Outbreaks and Vehicular Accidents As Public Safety Emergencies

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Two former leaders of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) have raised alarm over the recent surge in fire outbreaks and vehicular accidents across Liberia, which have resulted in increasing loss of human lives and widespread damages of properties.
In a press statement issued from the United States, the two former PUL executives, Messrs. Gabriel I.H. Williams and Emmanuel D. Abalo called on the government of President Joseph N. Boakai to institute robust leadership and move swiftly to address the escalating fire outbreaks and motor vehicle accidents, which have become serious threats to public safety in Liberia.
“We urge the Liberian government to take immediate action to address these public safety challenges to contain the surge of fire outbreaks and vehicular accidents. The government’s leadership is very critical in implementing effective strategies to bring such incidents under control, to ensure the safety and well-being of all Liberians and foreigners alike in the country,” the two journalists stated.
According to the press statement, the alarming frequency of fire outbreaks and motor vehicle accidents demands thorough investigations into their causes, while the government must institute immediate measures to strengthen fire and road safety regulations and enforcement.
Given the backwards and dysfunctional state of post-war Liberia’s infrastructure, Messrs. Williams and Abalo warned that the growing waves of fire outbreaks and road accidents would become worse until the government mobilizes the relevant resources to combat what have become grave public safety emergencies.
To address the fire outbreaks in Liberia, Messrs. Williams and Abalo also proffered that the government of President Joseph N. Boakai prioritizes support to the Liberia National Fire Service in terms of adequate budgetary allocation, manpower training, and logistics.
They also urged that Boakai administration is urged to seriously engage Liberians in the Diaspora with expertise in fire service for assistance to rebuild Liberia’s National Fire Service, which has been almost non-functional since the end of the civil war.
“For example, there are many Americans of Liberian descent who occupy leadership responsibilities at various fire departments across the United States, while there are also mayors of American cities who are of Liberian descent, who could assist the Liberian government fast-track rehabilitation of the National Fire Service. Cognizant that fire departments in American cities fall under the leadership of mayors, strong engagements with Liberian-American mayors and fire experts could buttress the effort of the government to establish a modern, functional fire service for Liberia.”
“Like the State of Israel and a few other countries with strong support from their Diaspora communities in the United States, they stated that the time is now for Liberia to begin to fully utilize its Diaspora not just for support to fund political campaigns during elections and provide remittances in hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain poverty-stricken Liberians, but also to fully utilize the financial, material, and human resources of Liberians in the Diaspora and friends of Liberia abroad to accelerate the development of the country. In this light, we call on President Boakai to establish an office of Diaspora affairs, to enable the government to be fully engaged with the Liberian Diaspora around the world, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared the 16th county of Liberia during her administration, because of the significance of the Liberian Diaspora to ensure sustainable peace and progress in the country.”
They called on the Boakai’s administration to convene a Diaspora Summit to constructively engage Liberian Diaspora Communities regarding the development of the country before the end of its first year in office. Considering the massive brain drain Liberia suffered because of the brutal and devastating civil war, strong engagements with Liberians in the Diaspora would accelerate the process of national reconstruction.

While commending the Boakai’s administration for prioritizing the rehabilitation of roads and highways across Liberia as part of its first one hundred days deliverables upon taking office three months ago, the former PUL leaders called on the government to improve road safety standards and infrastructure, enforcement of traffic laws and regulations, as well as public education on road and fire safety.
In a separate development, the U.S.-based former PUL leaders have applauded the Liberian Senate, headed by President Pro-Tempore Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence for endorsement of the resolution of the House of Representatives for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) in Liberia. The adoption of the resolution by the House on March 5, 2024, signifies a watershed moment to bring about justice, accountability and reconciliation in Liberia, which has been ravaged by decades of civil upheavals, rampant corruption, and gross abuse of power.
However, we wish to draw serious international attention to threats being made to destabilize Liberia by ex-warlords and some of those who collaborated in the plunder of the country, as well as remnants from the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political party of former President George M. Weah. Threats to disrupt the public peace have become louder since the new Liberian government began the process to establish the WECC and to institute reform measures to ensure accountability in public service.
‘‘We recall that during the Weah administration, alarms were raised that the government had recruited former war combatants into the state security apparatus, who were implicated in extra-judicial killings and other acts of gross human rights abuses in the country. These include the murder of several government auditors and ritualistic killings for which no investigations were made public. We also recall that during the 2023 General and Presidential elections, officers of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), the equivalent of the US Secret Service responsible to protect the President and other high profile Liberian government officials, publicly adorned CDC uniforms and brandished the party’s paraphernalia, in blatant violation of their legal and professional responsibilities.’’
‘’We are alarmed by the bellicose rhetoric or saber-rattling by remnants of the civil war and thugs recruited into the state security apparatus such as the EPS, who are openly threatening the security of the President and the stability of Liberia to disrupt reforms being undertaken by the new government.
We strongly condemn the unwarranted and irresponsible attack of Senator Edwin M. Snowe on the U.S. Government over the establishment of the WECC. Senator Snowe must be reminded of his past association and role in the destabilization of Liberia and looting of the country’s resources, which resulted in international sanctions against him and other accused. The U.S. has been Liberia’s most important bilateral partner in ensuring sustainable peace and progress in post-war Liberia, for which the Liberian people are very appreciative.’’
Accordingly, we appeal to the U.S. and other international partners for adequate support in the security sector to ensure that Liberia’s peace and stability are not disrupted by subversive elements to stall or prevent the establishment of the WECC. Anyone who attempts to disrupt the peace and stability of Liberia, be they ex-warlords or those in the CDC leadership, including Mr. Weah must face the full weight of Liberian and international laws.
“We support the Liberian government in its endeavors to institute aggressive reforms to rescue Liberia from dysfunction to a functional state, as we call on Liberians for a united effort to safeguard the future of our nation. The establishment of the WECC will help put an end to the criminal indifference of Liberian government officials which we have seen in the country, particularly in our recent national history,” the release concluded.

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