Several street vendors have accused officers of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at the ELWA Junction of arbitrarily seizing their goods, causing them to lose thousands of Liberian dollars every day.
In an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, a young street seller explained that three PCC and four LNP officers stopped him while he was on his way home with his wheelbarrow filled with goods.
The total value of the goods in the wheelbarrow was about L$53,000. The items included women’s body sprays, pampers, soaps of all kinds, and other toiletries, said the seller.
He said it was around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8, when the seven officers rushed on him to seize his wheelbarrow.
“They came with a pickup truck and forcibly took my wheelbarrow, put it in the truck and took it away,” the young man said. He explained that as it is usually the case, he headed to the Paynesville City Hall with the hope that he could retrieve his wheelbarrow and the goods.
“When I went there I only saw the empty wheelbarrow and no one there could give account of what happened to my goods,” the man, who identified himself only as Eric, said.
He said since the incident he has been going to the PCC headquarters for his goods to no avail and no one has told him anything about what happened to his goods.
Eric said the situation has rendered him penniless and he is now helping friends to sell their goods to get “something” for his daily bread. He said he dropped out of school in the 8th grade and has been managing funds at his disposal doing petty trading.
“Now I only depend on friends to survive,” Eric said. He is meanwhile calling on PCC and LNP authorities to ensure that years of efforts are not wasted simply because the officers are instructed to seize goods from street sellers.
Eric told this newspaper that he wants Paynesville City Mayor Ceyvette Gibson to ensure that PCC and LNP officers stop harassing ordinary Liberians who are simply working for themselves through petty trading.
He said at times PCC officers pepper spray marketers while chasing them to seize their goods.
Meanwhile, when contacted a PCC officer at the Paynvesville City Hall refused to discuss the incident involving Eric, saying it was a job he and his colleagues have to do.