Minister Varney Sirleaf Calls for End to Acts that Conflict with Civil Liberty

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MIA Minister Varney Sirleaf receiving a traditional welcoming gesture from Chief Kawor, backed by other chiefs at the Chief Conference in Ganta

The Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA), Varney Sirleaf, has urged citizens, especially those involved with the Poro society, to desist from acts that conflict with somebody’s civil liberty.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Ganta on Monday, August 27, he said traditional activities should not be used to intimidate other people’s rights.

Minister Sirleaf had been on a fact-finding tour of the country, especially the southeastern region, reassuring citizens of the government’s commitment to road construction, encouraging citizens to get involved in farming as well as reconciling among themselves; noting that the reconciliation process will be undermined if forceful initiations continue.

Poro society activities have raised concern in central parts of Nimba County, since the 2017-2018 school year ended, and there have been reports that many teenagers are being forcefully initiated.

In the early part of August 2018, a man was initiated by the Poro master in Kpayekpoah Town, near Saclepea City, prompting a commotion between the predominantly Inland Christian Community, with the Poro being accused of forcibly initiating others into its society.

Minister Sirleaf warned that taking someone forcefully to join the Poro is against their rights and also exposes the society to public disrepute.

He also told leaders of the Poro society to observe the time of coming outside or when the master is making is exit, so as not to infringe on other people’s rights.

Minister Sirleaf warned non-members to respect the society and avoid contact with its members whenever their master is making his exit.

Minster Sirleaf extended his visit to Sanniquellie, where he held a town hall meeting with local authorities, assuring them of government’s commitment to constructing road networks.

Meanwhile, the man, who was forced into the Poro society in Kpayekpoah – an issue that prompted the conflict – has been released by the Poro group, though having already been initiated. The man has since been turned over to the United Inland Church by authorities of the MIA.

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