Gov’t Bars Entry to Illegal Migrants from Sierra Leone

LIS Commissioner Lemuel Reeves

The Government of Liberia on Wednesday barred hundreds of Sierra Leonean citizens from entering the country at the Bo Water Side border post because they did not have ‘traveling documents’ that could have allowed them to do so.

However, the Sierra Leoneans interviewed said they were residing in Liberia and recently returned to Sierra Leone to cast their votes in the country’s presidential and general elections on March 7.

Authorities at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) told the Daily Observer on yesterday that the returning Sierra Leoneans did not have travel documents and therefore they could not allow them to enter Liberia.

LIS Commissioner, Lemuel Reeves, said only 566 persons were granted free passage to return to Sierra Leone, but afterward realized that upon their return the number had surpassed 1,000 individuals—most of them women, babies and small children.

“Our officers recorded 566 persons who had gone to take part in the voting, but we realized after the voting exercises over one thousand came to crossover to Liberia,” he said, “unfortunately too, many of those prevented did not even have traveling documents.”
“So we could not allow them into the country without proper documentation. I was at Bo Waterside to ensure that this did not happen. Only those who had travel documents were allowed.”

It is believed that those prevented were relatives of people who had been granted “free passage.”

“We understand that Sierra Leoneans who are residing here wanted to have used this means to bring in their relatives from across the border. We are all Africans and members of ECOWAS and MRU, but issues of terrorism and drugs are getting rampant and we need to be careful. So we have to know who is entering this country,” Commissioner Reeves said.
He indicated that those who came did not even have Laissez Passez to even substantiate that they are even Sierra Leoneans.

Commissioner Reeves’ version of the incident contradicted social media reports that the Liberian government had closed its borders with Sierra Leone.

“We didn’t close the borders as being speculated by some, mostly Sierra Leoneans, on social media and other outlets,” he clarified, adding, “they wanted to force their way in after being denied entrance and that’s how we stopped the process. But some of their people went on social media, lying that we had closed the borders. That is not true.”

“They don’t have any travel documents, you don’t cross borders just like that, they want to come into this country freely, it is our job to make sure that the wrong people do not enter this country,” he said.

However, there were reports that between 20 and 50 buses were waiting on the Liberian side of the border to transport the Sierra Leoneans to Monrovia.

It may be recalled that recently, large numbers of illegal Ghanaian immigrants were reported to have entered the country via Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County’s border with the Ivory Coast. Many of those, it is being reported are now venturing into alluvial mining in various parts of the country.

“This is worrisome for us. We just saw a similar situation in Grand Gedeh so we have to be careful,” Commissioner Reeves said yesterday.

“After we granted them the free passage, it is unfortunate that some of them went to get their families in and this is unacceptable. With that huge number upon their return, we knew something was wrong and it didn’t make sense,” he said.


  1. I want to thanks the immigration officers for this very significant efforts. Let remind ourselves about Ebola, drugs, terrorism, and other crimes that are being committed against Liberians by these very foreigners.

    Allowing foreigners in Liberia from Guinea without proper check and balance by they (Liberia immigration authorit/officers) is what actually in my view brought Ebola that killed so many innocent Liberians and devastated our national economy.

    I understand some of the immigration officers did not allow those “infected with ebola Guineans” in free, apparently they took brikes out of ignorant or stupidity after it was publicly annonced by the Sirleaf government and World Health Organisation that all borders had to be closed, they (immigration officers) were stay deliberately taking bribery and allowing Guineans with Ebola in Liberia. I hope Ebola got rid of these very corrupt immigration officers.

    Ivory Coast closed all her borders with both Liberia and Guinea, and had in place all precautionary measures, for which the World never head any Ebola episode/case in the entire Ivory Coast despate the fact that Ivory Coast is bordering both Guinea and Liberia. So yor see how your killing us and destroying Liberia just because of small money?

    You allowed sickness in because you are being bribed with $20.00 usd or LD500-100 that will killed you and your entire family, and your comrades just because you love and put money first more than the very life of yourself, family memebers, friends, comrades, wife, and your own children? How can human being be so wicked, and stupid to do such? Let all of us put Liberia first. Liberia is all we have!

  2. It’s about time! In the past, and probably as I write my brief comment, Sierra Leoneans, Guineans, Nigerians, Ghanaians and others have badly badg misused Liberia. It looks as if they’re still playing their foolish game on my country. I don’t know if we (were)(are) very weak or perceived to be weak or too liberal or kind-hearted or what. I just don’t know. For nearly 600 Sierra Leoneans to say that they went home to vote and they’re now returning to Liberia, is a very stupid explanation to buy. I just cannot stand folks who are cool with mendacity, especially as it relates my country.

    Those people who constantly pose as Liberians are the very ones who have the silliest things to say about Liberia. A guy from Southern Africa (not necessarily from South Africa) bragged to me that he had fun with “those weak Liberian girls”. (Ladies and gentlemen, I was brought up to be a good guy. You know what? I try! But, bear with me for a few seconds.) Upon hearing that jazz from the aboce described individual, I had the last word!
    I responded by saying that “girls in his country were infested with the aids”. As I said, I had the last word.

    My position is simple and explicit. If anyone wishes to naturalize the legal way in Liberia, that is okay. But, I think it is downright stupid to claim to be a Liberian when in reality it is bogus.

    Are we weak? Some may think like that. But we have to show them that we are not weak. Those 600 Sierra Leoneans must be sent back without questions asked. But the legal ones must be admitted.

  3. The above commentary was mistakenly sent. I was using my phone when one of my fingers depressed the post comment button. I will beat up that finger. Forgive me y’all. I don’t write like that.

  4. Few days ago, President Trump spoke of hiking tariffs – tax – on manufacturing items such as aluminium and steel, as he put it, to protect American jobs. But gradually, he is modifying that position realizing the likelihood that other countries will do the same, retaliate in kind, setting off a tariff war. It is a cautionary tale for overzealousness.

    Liberia must protect its borders against illegal entry, yet caution and tact must be used, not for MRU, ECOWAS, AU or Pan Africanism, but because Southeastern Liberians have been migrating to Freetown before our nation-founding brethren started arriving on the shores of the Grain Coast around 1820. And incidentally, the original group transited from Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone. Needless to say, Southeasterners are still going to Freetown without even passing through Monrovia.

    Let the issue be properly reviewed by the foreign ministries of both countries, above the level of immigration authorities, in order to avoid a tit-for- tat. Some of us remember when SKD closed the border between the two countries for some reason, Pa Siaki responded by preventing Liberians from hunting in Sierra Leone. Apparently, we were forced to reopen the border due to the adverse economic effects on our border towns with them, and other considerations.

    Moreover, European colonialism created artifical boundaries among tribes, thus, for example, we have Mendes in Lofa and Cape Mount (Liberia), and Bo, Kenema, etc., (Sierra Leone). It is impossible to totally stop cross-border movements between families on each side; not only due to porous borders, but the effort will undermine kinship. It would also surprise many to learn that Liberians living in Sierra Leone, hundreds of thousands of them, even those who went last year, aren’t under non-citizen category at their Immigration headquarters. I was once in charge of the Division there, be mindful of unforeseen consequences, folks.

  5. What became of those illegal Ghanaians that entered the country from the Ivorian border? Who give them license to do Mining? Have they been scrutinized for identification to substantiate who they say they are? They know that Liberian can not just go to Ghana illegally and start Mining right away. We need to know Hon. Lemuel A. Reeves.

  6. This is one of reasons for the high increase of poverty rate faced by citizens in the country. Let me say this as a clear signal to the Commissioner of LIS that 80% of illegal migrants are Fullians. Many of them are all in the streets and commercial areas doing all kinds of businesses without even a residence permit or work permit which is not acceptable in any country. Now if you just enter Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and other African countries, you will notice that these countries don’t take legal documents for granted. We need to improve our systems and reduce the high population rate faced in Liberia so as to meet the demand of all citizens and those residing in Liberia legally.

  7. I think the best way to stop illegal immigrants to enter Liberia is to close the borders between Liberia and Sierra Leone and Liberia and guinea. It’s very simple.

  8. African people are letting this European/American pseudo-border control ideology dictate how we treat each other. Can someone please tell me what the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana were called before the 1600’s?
    We were just one people separated by rivers, mountains and forests. Indigenous African languages transcending borders. It’s a shame, what is S/Leone also tights it borders against Liberians?
    Our Pan-African forefathers would be turning in their graves.

  9. George like you stated “ before the 1600” sorry dear but we’re in 2018. Things have changed. Doing the Liberian Civil was we had to obtain documents to travel or enter other African Nations.

  10. Comrade Slyvester G. Moses,
    There is no doubt that European colonialism and imperialism have done an unforgettable permanent damage to black Africa. So, although it’s unforgettable, we in Africa can do our best to deconstruct that damage in many ways. In my opinion, one of the ways in which deconstruction can begin is to desist from blaming the Europeans all the time for our problems.

    Illegal border-crossing by Sierra Leoneans and others is wrong! Despite the fact that there are Kpelle-Guineans, Via or Mende-speaking Liberians and Sierra Leoneans in each other’s country, something “should and must” be done to show that we can govern ourselves. Frankly, Europeans should not be blamed for illegal border-crossing by Sierra Leoneans and others. It may be difficult to enforce a porous border, but it is not impossible to interdict constant illegal border-crossers from Sierra Leone and elsewhere.

    The question is do Liberian Immigration officers have the support they need in order to perform a good job? If there are good laws in place, illegal border-crossing by Sierra Leoneans and others will stop.

    The question of Sierra Leonean relatives who live in Liberia also stands in the crosshairs. So what? Does it make sense to blame the Europeans for this as well? Well, maybe. But not for a full minute. First of all, the Sierra Leoneans have used this argument for a very long time. In some cases, it is a damnable lie! The truth of the matter is that if Sierra Leoneans have relatives in Liberia, it does not give them the moral authority to cross into Liberia illegally. Lastly, the truth must be told: The pastures in Liberia are much, much greener than those in Sierra Leone. If Sierra Leoneans love Liberia (they do) they should quit lying, just do what is right. Get a legal document from the Liberian authorities in Sierra Leone. Then go to Liberia. Liberians are not prejudice.

    Sierra Leoneans who enter Liberia illegally must be locked up and repatriated to their country after they have served their time.

  11. George,
    There is a tendency for some Africans in the diaspora and in Africa to always and always blame Europeans for our problems in Africa. Is that a credible argument?

    Let me discuss some real life issues. After that, I will ask some questions. If you are, or are not a typical European blamer for our problems in Africa, we’ll
    1. As a tropical country, torrential rain usually hits Liberia unmercifully. So when it rains in tropical Liberia, it pours. When it pours, the rain messes up the roads. When the roads get messed up, motor cars cannot travel up into the rural areas to bring consumer goods to the city markets.
    Question: Do you think that the Europeans are responsible for bad roads in Liberia when it rains?

    2. In the public schools of Liberia, all students do not have their full set of textbooks, neither do teachers have their full set of teacher edition textbooks and classroom supplies such as grade books, attendance books, etc.

    Question: Do you think that the partitioning of Africa by the Europeans circa 1600 has caused the problems in Liberia’s public schools?

    3. For ages, Sierra Leoneans have crossed into Liberia illegally and told lies about being Liberians or visiting Liberia to do business or see relatives.
    Question: Do you think that it makes sense for any Sierra Leonean to visit Liberia with a document that verifies their real status? Or do you think that the Europeans are responsible for this blatant violation of Liberia’s sovereignty.

    The pastures in Liberia are greener than those in Sierra Leone. Fact! If Sierra Leoneans want to visit or stay in Liberia, it’s okay if they are properly documented. Sierra Leoneans have to quit telling falsehoods.

    George, you asked whether it makes sense for the Sierra Leoneans to tighten their borders in order to prevent Liberians from entering their country. Yes, tell them to do it ! They will suffer the consequences. Put bluntly, Liberians do not visit their relatives in Sierra Leone illegally. If there is a record such as that, it’s not as gross as the Sierra Leoneans do. Fact!

    God willing, I am going to Liberia soon. I will definitely see Mr. Weah. If the immigration issue comes up in our deliberations, you bet I will suggest to him some brilliant ideas. Of course, there are better things to discuss than dealing with Sierra Leonean ongoing illegal incursions.
    Finally, Sierra Leoneans should be locked up if they enter Liberia illegally. That’ll create jobs. However, if Sierra Leoneans request proper documents to enter Liberia, their requests must be granted on a case case basis. After all, we’re all brothers and sisters. But we will not surrender our dignity to law breakers.

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