Residents of Nimba County have reportedly accused the county’s administration of leasing a portion of the historic Superintendent’s Compound to people who have now commercialized the area by selling cheap alcoholic beverages that attract many customers.
The compound is where the process that led to the formation and signing of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), took place in 1959 with Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Toure, Liberian President William V.S. Tubman and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
“This place is where the three presidents who birthed the OAU were hosted in Sanniquellie,” residents recalled.
The compound was recently occupied by the Bangladeshi and Ghanaian contingents assigned with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Following the departure of the peacekeepers, facilities at the compound have been occupied by some unarmed Liberian security officers.
Over the weekend, our reporter in the county observed that the county administration has leased some portions of the compound to private individuals, who have established a full time entertainment center in the area that sells cheap alcoholic beverages, including locally produced wines.
This act, according to reports, has angered many Sanniquellie residents to the extent that they want to take the county leadership to court.
The compound also hosts the 8th Judicial Circuit Court, the main residence of the county superintendent, and the presidential palace.
“We thought that it is the security officers assigned here carrying on the commercial activity, but surprisingly, it was a private person who is now carrying out the commercial activity, with loud music depriving us of sleep,” a female resident told this newspaper.
In response to the residents’ concerns, Nimba County Superintendent Fong Zuagele said when the UNMIL contingents were assigned to the compound, a portion of the compound was used as a canteen for soldiers, adding, “So why should the residents complain about our administration leasing the same compound to private business owners?” he inquired.
According to Supt. Zuagele, since the compound is leased out to a Liberian who happens to offer entertainment services, residents should not complain or argue.
However, residents who the Daily Observer talked to asked why the local government leased the area for commercial purposes instead of renovating and using it as a guesthouse.
But Supt. Zuagele, speaking over Radio Kehgheaman (RKFM) in Ganta, explained how Liberians love foreigners more than their own people, saying, “When the UNMIL soldiers were here, no one complained.”