Having announced, following the January 6 protest, that it does not have any new plan to protest but remains consistent in demanding redress from the George Weah Administration of its list of petitions, the Council of Patriots (CoP) has threatened to organize another protest against action by the government to sell nine of Liberia’s oil blocks.
Though the COP frowns on the sale, especially the manner in which the bidding is being done, Henry P. Costa, chairman of the CoP, says “it is very frustrated by reports that the President has fifty percent share in two of the blocks.”
The World Oil website reports that the “Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) announced the launch of its next offshore licensing round, expected to commence in April 2020.”
Mr. Costa made the disclosure on Sunday during a press conference in Monrovia when he emphasized that President Weah continues to work in his personal interest and not for the people of Liberia.
“The Government of Liberia, through President Weah, wants to sell nine oil blocks in one bid round. Of those nine oil blocks, Mr. Weah has 50% of two of them and is doing it quietly without making any pronouncement about it,” Mr. Costa said.
“This is a watershed moment for the country and the Authority is excited to reach an agreement with all parties including TGS and NOCAL in promoting Liberia’s offshore acreage and attracting the needed investment in Liberia towards support for the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) under the aegis and leadership of President George M. Weah,” a quote attributed to Archie N. Donmo, Director General at LPRA by World Oil website.
“The CoP wishes to inform you that it will begin to hold a series of mass meetings this week. We will review our operations so that we can resist any attempt by this government to auction away nine of our oil blocks. The next protest will be about oil and nothing else. We will begin to conduct mass meetings across communities first before making the pronouncement for the date of the protest,” he said.
According to Costa, the CoP still has what it takes to put thousands of Liberians into the streets. “We are reviewing our position on it.”
He lauded international and local partners for their efforts to bring peace to Liberia but said the government is not interested in maintaining the peace.
Costa’s laissez-passer saga
On what seems to be a security issue impeding his return to the United States, Costa said “I arrived on the 19 of December 2019, but while coming, I instructed one of my assistants to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure for me a laissez-passer so I use it to travel from Accra to Liberia because I decided to obtain a Schengen visa to enable me to visit my son who lives in Italy, so I would not travel on my Liberian Passport from Accra to Liberia,” Costa explained.
He added, “I came to Roberts International Airport and presented the laissez-passer to the Immigration officers who processed it, reviewed it, and accepted it in my presence and allow me entrance into my home country, Liberia. Three weeks later, on 10 of January 2020, on my way back to the United States, I received information that the Ministry of Justice on the order of Frank Musa Dean had an order to stop me from leaving Liberia.”
Mr. Costa said considering the situation, I decided not to take the risk of giving them my passport, which they requested in order to seize it.
According to Mr. Costa, he informed the airlines about the situation and his bags were taken off the flight and he went back home.
“I called on the Minister of Justice and he confirmed that they have been investigating how I obtained the laissez-passer,” he said.
Mr. Costa said Immigration informed him to go to the Liberia Immigration Service office to write a simple statement on how he obtained the laissez-passer.
According to Mr. Costa, the Immigration officer informed him of not going against any law by allowing someone in Liberia to obtain the document, but the signature on the document and stamp were forged.
“We raised an issue that when did you realize that the signature on the document and stamp were forged, they said an investigation showed that it was forged but due to my busy schedule with the protest, so they have to allow me to complete the protest first before engaging me,” Mr. Costa said.
“I have contacted my school and the administration is aware that I may not be going now and was granted an excuse. I’m not in a hurry to go to America. I have options and would even transfer online to continue my studies,” he said.
According to Mr. Costa, if the government wants him to be Liberia, he will be in Liberia, emphasizing, “But the government must be ready for tension.”