Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia free of the Ebola virus transmission, President Ellen Jonson Sirleaf continues to receive commendations for her exemplary leadership that led to the containment of the virus.
From the onset of the crisis, Liberia was considered the worst affected amongst the three hardest hit nations, with the highest infection rate and casualties. But the tide turned following the belated but robust intervention of the international community coupled with what many term as the courageous and dogged leadership of the President.
Since the official declaration by the WHO, President Sirleaf has been praised both globally and locally for ridding the country of the deadly Ebola menace. The latest group to shower praises on President Sirleaf is the Liberian community in La Côte d’Ivoire.
The leadership of over 6,000 Liberians, represented by about 300 of their members, met with President Sirleaf at the Liberian Embassy in Abidjan where they held a special program of welcome and appreciation in her honor.
Ambassador Johnny McClain, embassy officials and nearly 200 Liberians in Abidjan had earlier turned out to give President Sirleaf a rousing welcome at Felix Houphouët Boigny International Airport upon her arrival, a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abidjan has said.
President Sirleaf is in Abidjan to attend the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group being held from May 25 to 29.
In their statement of appreciation delivered by the president of the Liberian community, Alexander Momolu Watson, they thanked President Sirleaf and her government for effectively bringing the Ebola crisis to an end.
Mr. Watson said that the more than 6,000 Liberians residing in La Côte d’Ivoire were happy and very grateful to her.
“Madam President, you were firm, as a great leader, in providing direction for the country during the Ebola crisis with the help and support of international partners and the Liberian people, particularly health workers (domestic and international) who are the real heroes,” Mr. Watson said.
He expressed regret and sorrow for the over 4,000 citizens and residents who lost their lives to the virus and prayed that God would console their families.
He also acknowledged God’s intervention in the country and for the life of the President, adding that it is only God that will reward President Sirleaf for all she has done and continues to do for the country.
He then appealed for assistance to ensure the biggest Independence Anniversary celebration ever in the history of Liberians residing in La Côte d’Ivoire, support to construct a headquarters for the community and mobility to reach Liberians wherever they may be in that country.
Mr. Watson then called on President Sirleaf to prevail on her counterpart, President Alhassane Ouattara, to reopen the Ivorian side of the border to ensure the free movement of goods and people between both countries.
President Sirleaf, in response, thanked the Liberian community for the honor.
“We did not expect to see this huge number of Liberians here tonight, but we are pleased and grateful that you could come to welcome us,” she told the Liberian residents.
She informed them that Liberia had come a long way. Even though things are not where she wants them to be, more progress and transformation have taken place with the involvement of all Liberians, irrespective of status.
She said much had been done because Liberians chose to be very peaceful during the last ten years, adding that with peace, the country can reach its development objectives.
President Sirleaf said though Ebola disrupted the progress of the country, her government was putting the pieces back together through the National Recovery Plan to include a resilient healthcare system.
President Sirleaf presented an amount of US$10,000 for the celebration of this year’s independence anniversary to be hosted by the Liberian community in La Cote d’Ivoire.