NCSCL Urges Gov’t To Probe AFL Women’s Claim

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In the wake of continuing protest by wives of men in arms of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), over claim of that newly appointed Defense Minister, Retired Major/General Prince C. Johnson misappropriated AFL funds and neglected the welfare of AFL personnel, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has called on the government to treat the issue as a matter of urgency. The CSO Council, which is the conglomeration of all civil society organizations in the country, pointed out that the situation at hand is a looming security threat that if not solved, could create some level of hostility.  NCSCL in a statement under the signature of Chairperson Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, urged President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to act swiftly through the relevant government authorities to probe into the claim(s) raised by the wives of the gallant men bearing the national symbol so as to bring the saga at a perpetual end.  The Council maintained that amid competing national priorities designed within the government’s 100 days deliverables and moving forward, such condition if not handled amicably, could cause further chaos that have the propensity to undermine the development agenda.  “Having extensively followed series of recent protest by wives of the AFL, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia hereby calls on the Government of Liberia headed by His Excellency Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai to give a listening ear to claims lifted by the women. We have come a very long way with this peace process and don’t want anything distorting it. The government must hear the women’s qualms and probe into allegations to provide the best solution needed to bring sanity to the state,” added the Council. It can be recalled that following the nomination of Retired Maj/Gen. Johnson, women under the banner of wives of the AFL staged a first in a series of protest at the Capitol – seat of the Liberian Legislature, calling on the Liberian Senate under the stewardship of President Pro-tempore Nyonblee  Karnga-Lawrence to reject him (Johnson) for these reasons.  The petition was at the time received by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Claims and Petition, Senator Augustine Chea of Sinoe County, who then promised to relate the message to full plenary and report back to the women. The women were also given assurance by Lofa County Senator Momo Cyrus, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs that the complaint was going to be looked into before any further confirmation action. But there was no further notice to the aggrieved protesters until the nominee and his deputy were confirmed to their new positions, and so the women reverted to further protest.  On Friday and Saturday, February 9 and 10, 2024, the women gathered along the Robertfield Highway and staged a second and third in a series of the protest to call on President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to remove the former AFL Chief as Minister of Defense.  During their protest in a much higher number, the women blocked the main route of the Roberts International Airport (RIA), calling on new Liberian President Boakai’s attention to their grievances. Vice President Jeremiah Koung, along with Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman and ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia Josephine Nkrumah responded to the scene and promised to address some immediate concerns, such as installing a transformer to provide 24-hour electricity to the barracks. However, in the face of this effort, the women remained adamant about Prince C. Johnson’s removal as they continued to express their dissatisfaction.  Vice President Koung then informed them vowed to facilitate a meeting with President Boakai on grounds that he was unable to address the issues alone as Vice President.

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