Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, says moving toward the 2017 general and presidential elections, Liberia faces some persistent internal security threats “which if not addressed in a coordinated way” could make hope for peace in the country a mirage.
He specifically pointed to threat persistently posed against the State by motorcyclists in the first category of internal security threats faced by Liberia as it has become a national security issue with far-reaching implications.
Speaking Monday at the opening of the Supreme Court on 12 October the attorney general warns that “moving toward 2017,” the potential for the manipulation of motorcyclists known here as “pen-pen boys” for selfish political ends “remains a clear and present danger” as 15 incidents involving bike riders which resulted to deaths and destructions have been investigated by police this year alone.
“Your honors, I say this to say that the threat that Liberia faces today, as it moves down the stretch to 2017, are internal and they require the coordinated efforts of all the three branches of government, through legislation, adjudication and interpretation in such manner as to preserve the body politic, maintain law and order and foster peace and tranquility,” he told Justices of the Supreme Court.
He complained that bike riders continue to act with total disregard for law and order, constantly violating the rights of others and destroying private and public properties with impunity.
Minister Sannoh said bike riders are consistently attacking and burning down police stations, terming the act as an affront to the sovereignty of the state. Among the 15 incidents he said have been investigated by the police include violent acts in Nimba, River Gee, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Lofa and Montserrado Counties, respectively, among others.
“The increasing wave of lawlessness is not only limited to pen-pen boys, but has also extended into demonstrations, mob violence, and total disregard of such basic laws as the Motor vehicle and traffic laws, with many of our citizens, including government officials, refusing to comply with the traffic rules,” he added.
He stressed that the degree of lawlessness here is also compounded by blatant disrespect of the police including verbal and physical assaults on their persons. According to the Justice Minister, some unnamed radio stations in the country are operating without licenses from the Ministry of Information and the Liberian Telecommunication Authority in total violation of the laws.
“As there can be no progress in anarchy, the executive gives notice that it will begin to act decisively against all tendencies toward deliberate violation of law and constituted authority,” he warned.
By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Jonathan Browne