Wants LNBA to speak out
Former Foreign Minister OluBanke King-Akerele yesterday raised serious public concern about one of the four ‘controversial’ bills to grant citizenship to non-Negros and to allow natural born Liberians to have dual citizenship that is currently being debated by members of the House of Representative.
The Citizen Amendment is aimed at removing the “discriminatory” Negro clause and open citizenship to any race, while at the same time defining natural born Liberians and allowing them to have dual citizenship.
The amendment will upset Articles 27 and 28 of the Liberian Constitution.
Mrs. Akerele who yesterday served as keynote speaker at the annual assembly of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) said, a combination of non-Negro and dual citizenship into one bill was not in the best interest of the country because the issue is very critical and has to do with constitutionality.
“You cannot combine Liberian born outside of the country opting for dual citizenship to that of non-Negro in the same bill and that is worrisome and it has a different motive. This bill is confusing and you have to speak out to educate our masses,” Akerele said.
She suggested that there was no need for Liberians to rush to make non-Negros citizens.
Speaking on the topic, “Investing in the Rule of Law, A Sine Qua Non for Socio-Political and Economic Development and Sustainable Peace in Liberia,” Akerele said, the bill is premature and it needs to be carefully studied with sufficient understanding from the LNBA to advise stakeholders including President George Weah.
Akerele said, for too long the LNBA has been silent on major issues that have to do with the future of the country, but, it is time for them to speak out on the issue of making non-Negros citizens.
“We need guidance and Liberians need to speak out and President George Weah also needs to be properly advised to understand sufficiently the dimension of the issue,” Akerele indicated.
The ex-foreign minister noted that removing the Negro clause has to do with constitutionality and it is the lawyers that can better help the public to understand its implications for the country.
“The removal of the clause must be done with sufficient protection of the interest of our people and sufficient time must be given for us to study its pros and cons,” Akerele told her audience of lawyers. “You know that joining the two is not correct and let nobody rush us because they are separate issues.”
“This is the future of our country and you have been silent for too long, it is time for you to speak out and provide education to the public to make informed decisions on the bill,” she told the lawyers.
She added “We need to hear your voice on the issue of the Negro clause on where you stand and to educate us. You need to tell us the consequences.”