... As ALJA joins called
The alleged inhumane sexual abuse involving the 7-year-old daughter of Mr. Nat Bayjay, the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Liberia in Abuja, has claimed the attention of River Cess County District #1 Representative, Rosana Schaack.
Rep. Schaack, as head of the Women’s Legislative Caucus informed Speaker Bhofal Chambers and plenary that the alleged sexual abuse of Bayjay’s daughter is as an abuse of a citizen’s right; and an attack on the future of a innocent child.
Grand Bassa Electoral District #5 Representative Thomas Goshua, co-wrote the communication.
The two urged the indulgence of Plenary to invite the Ministers of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, and Information, Ledgerhood Rennie, to explain what immediate actions have been taken to ensure that the victim receives medical attention and gets justice. They also want the alleged perpetrators dealt with according to law.
Members of the House of Representatives voted for the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Gender, Health, Information, Judiciary and National Security to look into the matter and report to the Plenary in January 2022.
Recently, Bayjay has been calling out for help to address the deplorable health condition and trauma his daughter has been subjected to by the acts of the rapists who, he said, were under the guidance of a colleague diplomat assigned at the Abuja Mission.
“I have come to use this medium to appeal to President George Weah to personally intervene in that very stressful situation that happened to my family while on national duty in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Bayjay added. “I’m constrained to use this public space because all efforts that I have applied diplomatically to get the attention of relevant authorities here to particularly care for the welfare of my sexually abused baby have only produced no response, making closure on such a traumatizing incident to be yet far off and continues to haunt my family.”
Bayjay said he was constrained to go public with the issue because every attempt to get a favorable response with respect to the alarming condition of his daughter has not yielded results including formal communications written to the appropriate quarters.
He added while the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information, and Justice have taken steps to forward the matter to court following his insistence, it is not enough in helping to cater to the welfare of his abused child.
“While I’m in Monrovia for the past two months to pursue the justice aspect to this matter, I keep getting calls from my family over our young daughter’s declining health back in Abuja, causing her to miss out on school for several days.”
Elsewhere, the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has said they are shocked and dismayed over the alleged abuse of Bayjay’s daughter on the premises of the Liberian Embassy., In a press release, ALJA noted that it is calling on the government to ensure that the alleged rapists are arrested and prosecuted for the heinous act committed.
“It is regrettable that Liberia’s Ambassador, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, and authorities of the Liberian government in Abuja and Monrovia have dragged their feet on ensuring judicial accountability of those individuals who allegedly abused the girl since the matter was reported to the Liberian government in April of this year,” the release said.
ALJA also criticized the authorities for failing to provide appropriate medical, mental health, and social support to the victim and her family.
The Association maintained that the alleged act committed against the victim has both long-term traumatic and economic effects on her if she is not immediately given the appropriate medical and psychological attention.
At the same time, ALJA has described as hypocritical the statement released by the Embassy in Abuja this week in which it expressed “zero tolerance to all forms of sexual molestations and gender-based violence… against women and girls.” The Association added the statement, which comes months after the incident occurred in Abuja is a callous response and an attempt at damage control more than a serious effort at dealing with the perpetrators and caring for the victim.
“The Embassy’s response is not only very worrisome, but it raises serious questions about the government’s professed commitment to protecting women and girls from gender and sexual based violence,” ALJA added. “The Abuja rape incident is a reminder that SGBV remains pervasive in the society and called on the government and every well-meaning Liberian to continue to work to ameliorate this problem.”
Meanwhile, ALJA is calling on the Liberian government to give the current rape case its utmost urgency, cognizant that the abused child is a Liberian citizen, who is entitled to full legal protection by the Liberian government.