Rep. Goshua Chairs War and Drugs Committee

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Grand Bassa  County District #5 Representative, Thomas Goshua, has been officially appointed Chairman to lead the War on Drugs Committee of the House of Representatives, known as the “Committee on Drug, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration.” Three  weeks before his preferment, the Daily Observer published a story that Rep. Goshua is being preferred for this huge task in absentia, though he wasn’t yet a member of the 55th National Legislature, as his certification as the Representative-elect is pending due to ongoing court battles over allegations of electoral fraud. The Daily Observer pointed out that Rep. Goshua played a significant role in amending the Controlled Drug and Substance Act of 2014, advocating for non-bailable offenses for drug trafficking and lower penalties for drug use and possession. Additionally, he focused on improving the health and well-being of drug users. Upon his certification by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and taking of the oath of affirmation as a member of the House of Representatives of the 55th Legislature, Rep. Goshua was appointed on Thursday, February 22, during the 13th day sitting of the 1st Quarter of the House of Representatives by Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa. The House’s Specialized Committee on War on Drugs (Committee on Drug, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration) is composed of chairmen or chairpersons of the Committees on Health, National Security, Youth & Sports, and Judiciary. Other members of the committee are Rep. J. Clarence T. Banks, Rep. Emmanuel Yarh, and Rep. Rugie Y. Barry. The House’s Committee on War on Drugs will be a Statutory Committee (part of Leadership) if the House’s Rules and Procedures are amended by two-thirds (49) Members of the House of Representatives.

The House’s War on Drugs Committee serves as a corresponding committee to the Executive and functions as an oversight committee in the fight against the menace. It may be recalled on Monday, 29th January 2024, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai declared drugs and substance abuse as a public health emergency in the country during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Liberians, through members of the 55th National Legislature at the Capitol Building.

The declaration comes amid reports of growing waves of drug-related deaths, involving young people and the arrests of hundreds of drug traffickers and users in Liberia regularly. President Boakai observed that illicit drugs, especially “KUSH,” are destroying the future of the country. “The drug epidemic, especially the use of “KUSH”, in our country is an existential threat eating away at the future of our children and the country. We must stand up and face this national security risk together. Given the need for immediate action to make good my pledge to the thousands of families burdened by this crisis, I am hereby declaring Drugs and Substance abuse as a Public Health Emergency.” The President further announced the establishment of a multi-sectoral steering committee against the public health emergency. Meanwhile, the selection of the chairman of the House’s War on Drugs Committee, Rep. Goshua, played a significant role in amending the Controlled Drug and Substance Act of 2014, advocating for non-bailable offenses for drug trafficking and lower penalties for drug use and possession. Additionally, he focused on improving the health and well-being of drug users. Since 2019, Rep. Goshua has been actively involved in the fight against drugs and initiated the amendment of the 2014 drugs law. This bill aims to provide penalties for drug-related offenses, alternatives to incarceration, harm reduction, public health and human rights initiatives, and the confiscation of properties. The law also aims to reduce the number of disadvantaged youths affected by drug-related issues. There are reports that Rep. Thomas Goshua argued that the bill will also provide penalties for drug possession or use, supply, trafficking, production, an alternative to incarceration, harm reduction, public health, and human rights, and confiscation of properties, among others, and will also reduce the number of disadvantaged youths in the streets. After two years of deliberation by lawmakers, the amendment was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2021 and sent to the Senate for concurrence. By: Zahn Dehdyugar/Ablee-Jay TV

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