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Immediate Concerted Efforts needed for youth rehabilitation

The Liberia National Police Chief, on Friday, October 28, 2016,described post-war rehabilitation of what he referred to as‘disadvantaged youth’ as insufficient. Inspector General Gregory Coleman told journalists last Friday thatsince the end of the Liberian Civil Conflict, there ‘hasn’t beenenough’ done to move ‘disadvantaged youth forward’, also attributing their inability to be reintegrated into the system to theirunwillingness and unpreparedness.

In his observation during his interaction with crimes reporters,Coleman noted the ‘traumatic stress disorder’ as a ‘walkingdisaster’ with which many Liberians were engaged, re-emphasizing his
institution’s concern about disadvantaged youth.

These assertions by the Liberian head of Police are surely against thebackdrop of recent actions by the Liberia National Police to raid thestreets of Monrovia and its environs of people many refer to as ‘street criminals’ operating under the guise of ‘car loaders’ – mostof whom are also referred to as “zogoes” under the influence ofalcoholic and narcotic substances.

The Police had institutedsuch measure against this group ofLiberians not because it had planned to go after them or violate theirrights as some had already thought, but to put in place safetymeasures for commuters, petite traders, as well as visitors, amongothers; and to get actors involved Ii finding an immediate short andlong-term solution to remedy the situation.

If the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police is suggestingthat not much has actually been done in favor of the drug-addicted‘guys and girls’ in the streets or disadvantage youth in terms of rehabilitation since the conclusive aspect of the civil war, fingersmust equally be pointed at national and international Non-governmentorganizations operating across the country under such nomenclature (inthe areas of youth rehabilitation and development) for not doing‘enough’ for disadvantaged youth.

By now, Liberia should not be confronted with such situation, owing tothe fact that international partners and donors have done extremelyand exceedingly well to support such cause in in the interest ofLiberian disadvantaged youth.

Whether or not the necessary monitoring and evaluation mechanisms todetermine the level of progress and success of such youth programswere put in place, the current unfortunate situation with which this disadvantaged group of Liberians is confronted as indicated by theInspector General of Police is a clear testimony.

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And while the action of the LNP against the presence of theseLiberians may be welcomed as necessary, it would have even beenbetter had the police administration constructively engaged the

Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Gender and Development, aswell as organizations and partners involved with youth programs inLiberia so that by the time the action is executed, there would havebeen programs and centers in place around the country to rehabilitatethe disadvantaged youth devoid of their reappearance and presence incommunities and neighborhoods in the same habits.

It may not still be late – judging from the passion, vigor and everyother positivity characterizing the desire of the new policeadministration to work in the interest of public safety, to turnthings over in a more rewarding direction for the betterment of ourLiberian society.

Turning things over would require constructive engagements with thenecessary institutions already mentioned with the highest degree ofcommitment and sincerity as being exhibited by the LNP in developingand executing youth rehabilitation programs to get these disadvantagedLiberians off the streets, cemeteries, as well as other unwholesomeenvironments across the country into better and progress life-styles.

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