Liberia at 167

first_imgThis week our beloved country turns 167 years old and what, besides our survival, do we have to show for it?  Here again we face the age-old question, “What does the age of Methuselah have to do with the Wisdom of Solomon?”  The answer is nothing.And yet, we must thank God for our survival through all these decades of   challenge.  We started from scratch in 1847, just at the time we almost lost it, as the British were challenging our sovereignty. They were refusing to pay custom duties at our seaports.  That is when Joseph Jenkins Roberts, with vision and passion, stepped up to the challenge and in January 1847 convened the Constitutional Convention.The result was the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed on July 26, 1847, followed by the first elections, when Roberts defeated the Convention, Chairman S. Benedict, to become Liberia’s first President.The British, who had earlier challenged our sovereignty, were the first, in 1848, to recognize our independence.  The British Monarch, Queen Victoria, invited President Roberts to Buckingham Palace and sent him back home with two gunboats.But the young nation was yet to face some very serious challenges, not only   the deadly tropical diseases, malaria included, that were decimating the small population; but also many boundary disputes, prompted by gunboat-backed encroachments on Liberian territory by the British on the Grand Cape Mount side (known historically as the Gallinas Country), and the French, on our Nimba-Grand Gedeh-Maryland sides.  That is how we lost so much of our territory while our so-called Mother Country, the United States, out of whose belly Liberia was born, looked the other way, lifting not a finger to protect the beleaguered country.And yet, here we are today–having survived 167 tough, demanding years, during which we experienced the most serious national test, the 14-year civil war.  By the grace of God, we overcame it, and now face the challenge of maintaining and sustaining the peace and the democratic governance that have emerged.  This sacred charge we must do EVERYTHING to keep.We can do so by putting RELENTLESS and sustained PRESSURE on the national leadership and on ourselves, to abide by ALL the rules of good governance.  We must, with all our might, fight and conquer corruption, greed, nepotism, selfishness.  We must remind ourselves and the people in power that these vices DO NOT PAY.  All the people and regimes that practiced them in the past, where are they now, how did they end, and how much of the loot did they retain?We must encourage, even compel our leaders to LISTEN actively and responsively to the people’s cries.We believe it is, at this point, important to reflect on some of the historical facts about our great Mother Country, to remind ourselves that we as a nation still have promise that we should work very hard to fulfill.America gave many ingenious gifts to the world.  The United States was 100 years old when, in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone; 127 in 1903 when Henry Ford invented the world’s first automobile and the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. The USA was 169 when in 1945, following the end of World War II, she became the world’s first super power!  The second was the Soviet Union, but the USA was far more powerful because she could feed herself and much of the world; was the world’s richest nation and also the most industrialized.In 1969, when the USA was 193, she landed a man on the moon, the only country yet to do so.Liberia, too, has geniuses. One of them was Edwin J. Barclay who at the age of 19 composed the words and music of The Lone Star Forever, one of the world’s greatest anthems.  We have had and still have many more.  Our challenge is to find, train and refine them and give them opportunities to excel in their various avenues of endeavor.Now that we face the prospect of striking oil, here is yet another opportunity God has given us to leapfrog into development.  Let us do everything this time to make the best possible use of this and all other resources for the development and advancement of our country. The hope is that when, 33 years hence, in 2047 we strike 200 years old, we will have much more to show for it.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Duala Marketers in Fear Weeks after Armed Robbery

first_imgLast month a manhunt by the Liberian National Police (LNP) got underway for a masked gunman described as very tall with a sharp nose, who robbed two stores using a silver pistol. There has been no word of the perpetrator’s arrest or any justice for Mr. Adah, 50, who sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand during the robbery.“Thank God the bullet entered in my palm and exited through the back of my hand,” he stated.Mr. Adah, a Nigerian national living on Bushrod Island and the owner of Wali Trading Center, can still remember the night he came face to face with a man wearing a black cotton mask and black clothes. In his hand was a loaded pistol and according to Mr. Adah, the unidentified gunman, who was very tall demanded that he hand over all of the money from his shop.Mr. Adah said he refused and a tussle broke out as he tried to keep the robber from shooting a second round following the first one that was shot in the air.“He asked me to give him my money. I asked him if he was joking and that’s when he told me “you must want to die,” and fired a warning shot to let me know that his gun was real. When he tried firing at me after he saw I had no intention of giving him my money, we started fighting for the gun and that’s when he pulled the trigger and shot me in my hand,” he added.At that point, stated Mr. Adah, he had given up the struggle and the attacker cleared his money from behind the counter and walked out of his shop with ease as if nothing had happened. The gun was in plain sight as bystanders watched in fear, unsure of who next would get shot.The gunman continued his robbing spree which took less than 20 minutes. His next stop led him across the street to a Fullah shop where he took almost every phone and Liberian dollars that the shop had earned.Since the armed robbery, it has been chaos in terms of shops closing earlier than normal and business people afraid of the darkness that settles over Duala market at night. Before the incident, many business places, marketers and vendors would sell until 10:30 p.m. for the customers who find themselves leaving work late. But now what remains in the Duala Market after 8:00 p.m. is the panic that everyone felt the night Mr. Adah was shot.“I’ve been losing a lot of money since that night because my market is cold goods like chicken feet and chicken wings. I have to stay out here sometimes until 10 p.m. in order for all to be sold because I do not have money to store it back in a freezer,” stated Ma. Jubeh.Ma Jubeh is now forced to sell her goods at very low prices once 6:00 p.m. reaches. Before the shooting, she sold her chicken feet at L$40 and her chicken wings at L$50. But for fear that the masked gunman could come back she sells her chicken feet at L$20 and her chicken wings at L$30 after dark.“By 8:00 p.m., you can’t find me anywhere in the streets. Anything leaves, my family and I usually boil it and sell it in the morning as peppeh feet,” she added.Ma Jubeh is not the only one living in fear. Taxi drivers, motorcyclists, shop owners and ordinary civilians who have to walk through Duala at night are all in fear of being the next victim. By 10 p.m. Duala is like a ghost town. No one is in sight except those who drink too much alcohol lingering around and looters and other criminals looking to snatch their next hand bag or such.Anyone having information that could help in the arrest and investigation of the described suspect is asked to contact your nearest police zone. The gunman is described as being 5’10, medium weight, dark skinned, with a pointed nose. He was wearing black pants, boots, a sweater and a ski mask that covered his face except for the nose and eyes.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more