The House of Representatives has summoned Police Commissioner Chris Massaquoi to appear and explain the alleged absence of security personnel, especially the police, in Liberia’s interior.
Lofa County Representative Moses Y. Kollie raised the alarm in the House last week and expressed fear that the people of Salayea and Zorzor Districts were at risk of attacks from armed robbers and other mischief makers due to the absence of police in the interior, especially Salayea and Zorzor.
But we believe that the House has it wrong. It is not the Police Commissioner they should be summoning but the Finance and Justice Ministers—the Finance Minister because he controls the nation’s purse strings and can better explain why government is not sufficiently financing the
Police and the Joint Security so that more officers and other security personnel may be deployed throughout Liberia’s interior. The House should summon the Justice Minister to explain why the Ministry has not been pushing for more funding for security operations in the interior. If they have been pushing, we have not heard the noise.
Yet this is the same government that is calling on professionals to opt for service in the interior instead of crowding the cities, Monrovia in particular.
The government knows, and we have said it many times editorially, that it has the responsibility to make the interior habitable by carrying development to the rural parts to make life more livable. We are talking about electricity, pipe-borne water, modern housing, low and medium-cost, Internet access, shopping and other facilities.
Thankfully, headway is being made to wire the whole interior with electricity, through La Côte d’Ivoire, beginning with Grand Gedeh, Nimba and Bong Counties. Hopefully within a year or earlier, power will reach Lofa and beyond.
But there is much more to be done to make the interior more livable.
When it comes to commerce, here is where LIBA, the Liberian Business Association, must take the initiative by encouraging its members in all 15 counties to seize the opportunities at hand. There is need for grocery shops, modern shops, boutiques, even supermarkets as well as modern motels and hotels. LIBA members should begin exploring tourist opportunities within each county. Take the waterfalls in Ganta, Nimba County, and in Patawee, Bong County, behind Cuttington University. But there are the forests and other sites in each county that can be explored. We suggest that LIBA should engage local and foreign tourist experts who can explore the Liberian interior and advise the Association on how to encourage its members in this avenue of investment.
There is the whole business accommodation facilities for which the whole Liberian interior is crying. Here is an opportunity for farmers to make money by supplying such businesses with food. Here is a chance for our farmers to invest in chickens and eggs, other meats such as goat, sheep and beef (cattle); as well as non-traditional vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber and tomato.
But lest we forget, this editorial is primarily about making Liberia’s interior secure so that people may live in peace. The Liberian government must invest in its Joint Security force and supply them with the motor vehicles, communication equipment and other logistics it needs to do a more effective job to help the people live in peace and security.
The Immigration aspect of security is not to be forgotten. Liberian borders, as porous as they are, we run the risk of being overrun as a nation by foreigners, unless we can control the influx of aliens across our borders.
Here we are reminded of the urgent need for national identification. But that is the subject of another editorial.