By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberian Senate Statutory Committee Chair on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs Steve Zargo says a committee of nine members at the Legislature is being constituted to derive a roadmap that will address the issue of zogoes in the country.
Drug abusers commonly known here as disadvantaged youths or zogoes have been terrorizing peaceful citizens across the country, and their latest action to invade a Church crusade has killed at least 31 people and wounded several other victims.
These criminals, often armed with deadly instruments, carry out their operations both in broad daylight and at night without fear of being apprehended for their actions.
But Zargo said the committee will be given two weeks to engage stakeholders of the security sector of the country – the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Liberia National Police (LNP) and all other actors for information pivotal to help the Senate derive a comprehensive roadmap that will deal with the matter before it gets out of hand.
But speaking at the program marking the 65th Armed Forces Day Symposium Thursday, 3 February 2022 at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, the Lofa Senator stated, “We will have subpoena power. We want to come up with a good roadmap [that] will help the government to nab zogoes so that it can not develop to a period where it will get out of control,” the Lofa Senator said.
He said the challenge posed by zogoes is becoming huge, adding that he does not blame it on the current administration.
Zargo extolled the Armed Forces of Liberia for the role played in Mali, saying the way the AFL soldiers conducted themselves has given the AFL soldiers a good professional image to the outside world.
“We are trying to make budgetary allotment, increase our strength [so that] our international partners can agree with us that this is the strength of Liberia,” he further said.
The Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia and head of the Joint Security, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean, described the issue of disadvantaged youth or zogoes as an overriding concern to all Liberians.
Sitting as a panelist for the Symposium, Liberia’s Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf said when people begin to take matters into their own hands, it signals to policymakers in the security sector to relook at their response mechanism.
He warned that when people continue to get angry, over time, they burst into flames.
“Let all of us be one another’s keeper. But the government should be the one to protect all of its citizens with the involvement of the communities,” the Internal Affairs Minister told participants at the AFL 65th Symposium.