Nimba County Inspector Reginald Mehn has accused non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the country of “inciting conflicts” among the citizens to get support from donors.
Although the Inspector did not name any particular NGO, he among other things, alleged that NGOs were always “falsifying stories as well as exacerbating them to make money.”
Inspector Mehn made the allegation on a local radio station in Ganta, Nimba County, shortly after he returned from the Grand Gedeh/Nimba peace talks coordinated by the Carter Center.
The Grand Gedeh/Nimba peace talks brought together chiefs, women and youth from the two counties. Their gathering harmonized any difference that might have emanated from the country’s civil war.
Although Mehn did not say what was discussed at the Zwedru gathering, it was widely reported that at the first phase of the conference held in Toweh Town, Nimba County, a few years ago, chiefs from Grand Geded accused Nimbaians of holding their children “hostage” and refusing to release them to return home. The participants from Grand Gedeh were reportedly upset over the allegation.
Nimba chiefs in turn cautioned their Grand Gedeh counterparts to identify any areas where they believe their children or citizens were held as hostages.
Up to the second phase of the peace talks in Zwedru recently, which Inspector Mehn attended and came down with his strong criticism of NGOs in the country, the allegation of “hostage taking” has not been proven.
The Toweh Town meeting brought together superintendents of the two sisterly counties where a contact link involving the chiefs was created to ascertain the facts of the hostage taking allegation.
Although authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs are yet to react to Inspector Mehn’s allegations, many NGO workers in Nimba County have sharply reacted. They called on Inspector Mehn to retract his statement “without the least delay,” or face court action from the Nimba County NGO coordinating committee.
Joseph Menlor of the Kpodo Rural Development Organization and vice president of the NGO Association in the county, called on Inspector Mehn over Radio Kergheaman (RKFM) breakfast show last Monday “to retract his baseless indictment against the NGO community immediately, because he spoke out of ignorance.”
Jesco C. Davis of the Justice and Peace Commission in Nimba considers Inspector Mehn’s accusation as “reckless and trash,” and also called on him to retract his statement and apologize to the NGO community.