Sanniquellie Airstrip Turns Market Ground

The current face of the Sanniquellie airstrip.

The airstrip in Sanniquellie City, Nimba County has become a market ground, creating the concern among the citizens of the county.

When the Daily Observer visited the airstrip, it was very hard to recognize the area, due to the numerous market tables already built on the airstrip.

Recently, an ArcelorMittal helicopter attempted landing on the strip, but found it difficult because of the market structures.

The airstrip was very busy during the presence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), from 2003 until the mission came to an end in 2017.

Sanniquellie has one of the longest airstrips in rural Liberia, but which has been encroached on since the outbreak of the country’s 14-year civil war, leaving the entire airstrip encroached on with houses and now the market having taken the remaining portion.

Prior to her departure from office, former City Mayor, Mary Gonlepa, planned to resurvey the airstrip and ensure those who encroached on the land be asked to leave.

Many critics are blaming the government for lack of vision in the aviation sector across the country, leaving most of the local airstrips, being overrun by wild vegetation or occupied by squatters.

Many citizens remember with great hope the visit of the Ivory Coast President Allasane Ouattara in Liberia at the climax of the Chiefs and Elders Conference in Zwedru, because he and his delegation of over 20 members flew in from Abidjan and landed in Zwedru in a mini-jet.

Those who attended the meeting were very impressed with the coming of the two leaders, especially at their arrival at the local airstrip.

Earlier this year, the Daily Observer also reported that the airstrip in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, was being badly encroached upon by squatters who had begun to construct houses that encroached on the airstrip property.

In Saclepea, the airstrip, once used by missionaries, as well as investors of the defunct “Nimba County Rural Development Project”, has been turned into residences and farms, with the local authorities showing little or no concern.

Efforts to get opinions from the local authorities, including Superintendent D. Dorr Cooper, did not materialize. Supt. Cooper’s phone rang continuously without answer.

Earlier, the County Inspector referred this reporter to either the Assistant Superintendent for Development or the superintendent, but effort to get them couldn’t materialize.


  1. Why is this airstrip being turned into a market? Where is the City Mayor! To collect money from the marketeers and create a dump site will soon be the outcome. Remove that market. If you have nothing useful for the airstrip, contact the Civil Aviation authorities before you get in trouble.

  2. Wow, seriously? This is very embarrassing and a complete absurdity to the good people of Nimba County, and the Civil Aviation sector of the Nation as a whole. For Christ sake, this is the Capital City of the Great County of Nimba. Besides, these airstrips constructed in all major cities across Liberia were intended to facilitate air travel to these cities. Marketers in Sanniquellie have no legal or moral rights to occupy this airstrips as a market ground. This is complete lawlessness and a disregard for public property.

    Where are the officials of Nimba County-Superintendent, Sanniquellie City Major, Development Superintendent and others entrusted with administering the affairs of this County? These mix-shifts structures referred to as market must be removed as soon as possible. By the way, where are the Nimba County Legislative Caucus on this critical matter? I just cannot imagine that this is happening in the Capital City of Nimba County. Why????

  3. Mr. Leewaye,
    I have just returned from a three-month vacation from our beloved country. I saw some things that galled me.

    Do you remember Mechlin and Broad streets? Well, from the downtown area where Mechlin originates to where it intersects Broad street, that portion of the road is almost blocked with marketers. As Mechlin street makes its way between the old Ministry of Education and the Finance Ministry, a motorist will hunk several times before he or she is given a slow passage. Why? Because marketers are in the street doing their business. Some of them sell bananas, batteries or peanuts.

    Now, from the Freeport to Point 4, the road is covered with portholes. The Douala market is virtually in the street! Kekeh motorists and motor bikers can easily fight their way through, but taxicab drivers and other motorists usually moan, swear or sweat in order to get through. That’s because dancers perform under Tecno tents. As the dancers do their do, rubber-neckers and other spectators cause traffic jam! There is a Tecno tent on Broad street where dancers perform. I guess that’s how some young men make their bucks. But be ware of zogos. A taxi driver warned me sternly to put my phone away on Broad street between the hours of 2-5pm because that’s when the zogos snatch things from people.

    But look. It’s really not Weah’s fault, although as president, something should be done. I am not trying to absolve him of total responsibility. But, what I heard was that while Ma Ellen was in vogue, places like Nimba, Point 4, the distance between Ganta and Zwedru and many areas nationwide were ignored. But at the same time, the lawmakers (were, are) making big bucks while the streets, the market houses, our schools and the city of Monrovia gets stinky and dirtier.

    There’s a whole lot that’s happening in Liberia! I am not sure whether some of the people Weah has appointed are concerned about performing their assigned tasks.

  4. When I wrote a statement about Sanniquellie airstrip been turned into a market ground and a dump site about 3 to 4 Months ago, some Nimba citizens attacked my story that we sit in America and comment on story that has no verification or truth in it. Any story that I put on the social media are verified because it has to do with my integrity. Now that the story has come from Observer News paper, what do you have to say? Perhaps people think that because we are in America, we want to buy mouth our country. Sometimes I make these remarks to pressure our Nimba local authorities to do what is expected of them.


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