Liberia: 'Fire Ambassador Conteh’
Child rights activist, Titus Pakalah has called on President George Weah to immediately fire Ambassador Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia’s Head of Mission in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his failure to properly handle the alleged rape case of a seven-year-old on the premises of the Liberian Embassy.
He said the reluctance of Ambassador Conteh proves that he is unable to deal with institutional matters which disqualifies him to serve as a Liberian diplomat.
“Therefore it is time he is fired and faced an independent investigation by the joint security task force. Why would a rape investigation take this long when in fact this incident sends a damaging report to the international community and also threatens our collective response to the fight against rape,” Pakalah asked.
Nat Bayjay, the Public and Press Minister Counsellor at the embassy in Abuja alleged that his seven-year-old daughter was sexually abused multiple times by two boys residing in the embassy‘s compound. He said when he asked Ambassador Conteh to show leadership, the Ambassador failed and protected the perpetrators, which compelled him to move out of the government-assigned home in Abuja.
For Pakalah, Ambassador Conteh failed to show leadership and should therefore be fired and face an independent investigation by the joint security task force.
In response to Bayjay’s accusations, Ambassador Conteh Amb. Conteh said that the statement was cunning and crafted shenanigans to destroy his hard-earned reputation and promised to respond when the matter is finally settled.
The Advocate described Ambassador Conteh’s statement as a total embarrassment to the fight against rape, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
According to the Pakalah, the government of Liberia can be sued under international laws and its own constitution that compels the state to protect citizens from the prevalence of human rights violations.
“The government has placed a huge physical and emotional burden on this child, especially in an instance where the President of Liberia and his Ambassador failed to protect this child's well-being,” he added. “If the President is interested in mobilizing huge resources for his social life and handing out money to Emmanuel Tulue without identifying the real social problems our women and girls face—then we must hold President Weah accountable for this abuse and call for the immediate dismissal of Ambassador Conteh.”
Since Mr. Bayjay went public to appeal for financial aid for the welfare of his daughter, there has been no intervention from the government, his direct employer, even though he pleaded with them to assist him.
In a telephone interview, Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie said the government has intervened in the matter and is now in court, but for the welfare aspect, he has written the Ministry of Finance and was informed that there is no money.
Meanwhile, the family of the abused child has claimed that Ambassador Conteh, in apparent cahoots with some officials within the corridors of power designed a strategy to suppress and silence the voice of their family given the rapidly worsening condition of our daughter and our trauma.
The statement added that Ambassador Conteh continues to demonstrate a pattern of callous attitude underpinned by lack of any sense of humility and decency toward the plight of their daughter, rather he and his ca-hoots are more concerned about the image of the mission he heads rather than the deteriorating health of the child.
“The statement by the Embassy of Liberia near Abuja which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has unfortunately decided to use as a template response to this very inhumane situation shows no semblance of interest in common humanity,” the family said.
“That singular act demonstrates the Ambassador‘s disregard for my family’s plight, further revealing why he sought to ignore and delay the plight of our baby just to uphold the image of the embassy and the perpetrators and their guardians who fall directly under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” it added. “By that statement, our Ambassador in Abuja has further demonstrated that the issue of the baby’s mental and physical health is less of his concern and as a father, he has fallen short of that moral duty and embarrassingly too.”