Months of grumbling over concerns of insecurity in Grand Gedeh County is continuing, as Representative Alex Grant raises the latest alarm of panic among his people due to illegal crossing into Liberia by some alleged Mossi people from neighboring Ivory Coast without consulting authorities here.
“Security-wise, it’s not safe, because the first place the Liberian Government has the duty to protect our territorial integrity. Now if people are coming and farming on this land and we raise this issue, we expect a swift response,” Rep. Grant told “Truth Breakfast Show” hosted by Truth FM 96.1 in Paynesville on Tuesday, July 7.
The Grand Gedeh lawmaker said, “The new movement that is causing this panic among the people” is that unauthorized persons have crossed over to Liberia, cultivating large plantations without consultation with authorities here.
During a visit to the county to follow-up on the matter over the weekend, Rep. Grant claims that his kinsmen vowed they would not relinquish an inch of their territory to anyone, once it has not been discussed or approved by government.
Roughly two months earlier, Grand Gedeh Senator A. Marshall Dennis, wrote a letter to Senate Plenary to complain of similar situation in the county, as locals alarmed over strange people crossing from neighboring Ivory Coast to farm on Liberian soil without seeking official permission.
He said when locals dispatched along the border with Ivory Coast arrested six of the alleged illegal farmers and reported them to the Superintendent’s office in Zwedru, the suspects were allegedly deported after one week.
“When those guys were released on Saturday, by Monday – Tuesday, more than five hundred persons crossed back into Liberia and continued with the cultivation of the land. So our concern is how were these people released? These are people we see as criminals,” Rep. Grant pondered.
He added that the alleged intruders cultivated over a thousand acres of land without respecting the land keepers by entering a formal discussion with them or obtaining government’s permit. As such, he insists that the illegal farming activity has no economic benefit for the county.
Though Rep. Grant acknowledges that the Mossi people are in both Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, he says more emphasis is being placed on Ivory Coast simply because Ivory Coast is closer to Liberia and there is likelihood that the Burkinabese must gain access to Ivory Cost before crossing into Liberia.
Following complaints, he said the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs had gone in Grand Gedeh and carried out some investigations. “We have not gotten any response or report in that regard.” He complained that it has taken over a month, and the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice have not communicated their findings to the county authorities.
This paper could not immediately get comment from authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs during a follow-up with the relevant authorities. By Winston W. Parley – Editing Jonathan Browne