Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, has said that national security officers, especially those assigned at various point of entry that compromised the interest of the country by allowing harmful narcotic substances to enter the country, are traumatized and should be offered psychosocial counseling services.
The high level of narcotic substances that have entered Liberia with the connivance of some national security officers, Ngafuan said are harming the country’s youths.
He described illegal drug abuse as the newest national threat that must be tackled now before it becomes too late for the country. “This new threat that has to do with the use of narcotic substances has permeated the entire Liberian society and we must address it now,” he said.
The former minister spoke at the graduation ceremony of 290 Renewed Energy Serving Humanity (RESH) volunteers who completed intensive eight-week psychosocial counseling courses in Paynesville.
He noted that officers of national security apparatus, especially those that have the statutory mandate to man the various ports of entry to the country are putting the future of Liberia at stake, because they neglect their responsibilities.
“These narcotic substances that are destroying our brothers and sisters are coming through airports, sea ports and other points of entry into our country and we have men and women who have pledged to defend our country, supposed to be or are at these points… but what are they doing? Are they compromising the interests of the land? I think they too are traumatized and they need rehabilitation or psychosocial counseling,” Ngafuan said.
Ngafuan acknowledged that the fight against illegal drug trafficking would be a herculean task, given the fragility of the Liberian state, especially when security officers, who are supposed to be protecting the interest of the state, are the ones who are compromising the future of the nation’s youth.
He noted that the graduates have a huge task at hand, which has to do with rehabilitating thousands of Liberians who are currently undergoing some mental pressures. The young people, many of who have fallen in the grips of narcotic substances, made up the bulk of this number Ngafuan said, adding, “Knowledge is nothing without its application, therefore the new skills acquired must be used to help Liberia.”
“It is your duty to rescue your brothers and sisters and return them to their various families. You have gained this knowledge to have an impact and I’m of the strongest conviction that you will,” he told the graduates.
He told the volunteers that by doing this, they would save Liberia, whose future—in spite of surviving all the odds of recent years, is being dented by the impact of illegal drug traffickers.
He called on the state security to get more robust and tackle drug trafficking in the country. “It now appears that every community in Liberia has a little ghetto somewhere and we must fight to bring these to their knees,” he said.
He frowned on Liberians, especially women who know the pain of child bearing but are trading in these substances. “You are contributing to the destruction of your country more,” he said, “Those who make profit at the expense of others are also armed robbers because they are making armed robbers by what they sell.”
It may be recalled that in 2013, the Commander of the Presidential Motorcade, Perry Dolo was arrested while conveying drugs in one of the president’s convoy vehicles with the inscription “ESCORT ONE on behalf of an unnamed notorious Nigerian illegal drug peddler.
Arrested along with Dolo at the time were another LNP Officer Cyrus Slewion, an unnamed Sierra Leonean, a Guinean national and another Liberian.
Dolo, together with four other men were charged with drug trafficking and criminal facilitation—helping to import 10bags of narcotics valued nearly LD$3.7 million about US$50,000 into the country and was found guilty on all counts by a jury on Friday, August 8. Dolo was subsequently sentenced but was granted executive clemency by President Sirleaf after a little over two years later.
Some of these drugs barons are shielded by people in high places in the various security agencies of the country and other governmental agencies, according to informed sources. Top government officials, according to information, are highly protective of traffickers who are arrested by lower ranking LNP and BIN officers.
In 2015, while using undercover agents, the United States DEA in collaboration with the National Security Agency (NSA) nabbed some notorious drug traffickers in Liberia with Mr. Fomba Sirleaf, son of President Sirleaf at the center of this operation.
Sirleaf nabbed Chigbo Umeh, a Nigerian who was working on behalf of a Colombian drug cartel, and wanted 700kg of the cocaine arrive in Monrovia en route to Accra, Ghana—a deal they promised to pay the NSA Director and his team US$200,000. The DEA and NSA had been trying to bring down this cocaine trafficking ring in Liberia since 2009 but finally got the men and had them sent to the United States.
Many illegal drug dealers consider Liberia as a safe transit point to convey their illegal drugs to Western Europe and North America.