In an attempt to express the anger and frustration about the deplorable conditions of the River Cess highway, a traditional devil has begun harassing and extorting money from drivers and company personnel.
In order for commercial drivers, private and other public service transport providers not escape the extortion spree of the traditional devil’s well-designed plan, members placed large log at the entrance of the Bailey Bridge constructed by aid-agencies.
Late Tuesday morning near the bridge separating River Cess and Sinoe counties in the southeastern Liberia, a dozen men, most of them under the influence, intercepted two Liberian Government vehicles and demanded US$30 from them.
Commuters and businesspeople aboard the two affected vehicles have called on authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Traditional Chiefs and the Elders Council of Liberia to admonished members of the traditional societies to stop carrying out such activities.
“Such activities on major highways in the country could spark misunderstanding amongst the citizens and residents as people using the highway come from different traditional backgrounds,” the businesspeople stressed.
Senior members of the traditional devil’s entourage told the drivers and company’s personnel that their big trucks were the ones spoiling and damaging the River Cess-Sinoe’s highway.
The traditional devil members’ assertions could be perhaps due to the companies not adequately addressing the social corporate responsibility components of the concession agreements entered into with the Liberian Government.
“Every year during the Rainy Season in River Cess and Sinoe Counties, our roads continue to be spoiled by the big, big companies’ trucks, commercial drivers and other end users,” traditional devil members contended.
The two vehicles were released only following extensive 30 minutes of negotiations with members of the River Cess traditional council by an Executive Protective Service (EPS) officer.
The EPS officer, who asked not to be named, pleaded with the members of the traditional devil’s entourage to relax their grievances and channel same through the relevant ministries and agencies of the Liberian Government.
“I’m indeed aware of your complaints and sentiments and I will convey same to the appropriate government ministries and agencies for a practical solution,” EPS personnel assured.
In a brief stop-over at one of the biggest commercial centers of ITI in River Cess County, residents and businesspeople told the Daily Observer that the action of the devil’s members had become a nightly routine.
They also underscored the need for the intervention of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Traditional Council of Liberia in order to create an enabling environment for them to carry out their business activities to Sinoe County.
The businessmen and women further pointed out that they all respect all the traditional norms of every tribe in Liberia but, their practices should not infringe on the rights of other peaceful citizens doing business on the highways of Sinoe and River Cess counties.
“Our concerns and expressions are not meant to disrespect the traditional practices of the River Cess citizens but we only want to do our business activities under a secure environment,” businessman Blamayon Gray emphasized.
Meanwhile, several businessmen and women in the ITI commercial district have sounded an urgent appeal to the MIA and central government to hold some discussions with the traditional devil members on the matter.