President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has affirmed that those who took part in the riot in Nimba in early July that resulted into the destruction of properties valued in the millions of US dollars belonging to Arcelor Mittal, will certainly face the full weight of the law, if found guilty.
Speaking to a group of reporters at the close of her Nimba tour on Tuesday, President Sirleaf said the government will not tolerate anyone taking the law into his/her own hands by destroying properties worth millions of United States dollars.
Her remarks came after she made a brief stopover in Zolowee, where the parents of those detained from the recent rioting in Yekepa appealed for the release of their children from jail.
“We spent years trying to encourage investors to come in and the investors have spent millions of dollars building roads, hospitals as well as developing the minds of the citizens and at the same time creating thousands of jobs,” she declared.
“How can we allow anyone to destroy all of this? Yet you cannot give some reason through an investigation and tell us what made them angry,” she added.
The President said the parents were suppose have the responsibility to caution their children and ask them why they were destroying bridges built by their government and properties that make their country a better place, instead of coming to beg for them.
She maintained that if the young people have a problem they should be able to tell their parents, elders, chiefs, ministers or even the President, instead of just destroying properties.
Early in July 2014 the youth, under the banner “Progressive Tokadeh Youth for Development based around the mining communities in Yekepa, carried out a riot resulting into the destruction of millions of dollars’ worth of properties belonging to Arcelor Mittal.
Dozens of the rioters, mostly youth, were arrested and are still awaiting court trial, which might likely take place in Grand Bassa.
President Sirleaf, while en route to Yekepa on day-long working visit to Nimba, listened to the citizens and parents of the detainees who appealed for pardon for their children.
She said, however, that if the government shows mercy on the rioters without going through the due process of law, then they would feel free to continue such acts.
“These acts, although committed against one company, would certainly deter other investors from coming,” she warned.