Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County, a.k.a PYJ, has abandoned his post as Liberia’s representative to the ECOWAS parliament, fearing arrest for alleged war crimes.
Since his election by the Liberian Senate in early February this year to represent the country to the regional parliament, he has conspicuously been absent at all sessions and functions of the regional body, though tickets and travelling allowances have been made available by ECOWAS.
His conspicuous absence drew the attention of the Liberian Senate last week in plenary, prompting Senator J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County to write a formal inquiry to the august body asking why their colleague, who they elected to represent Liberia, is not performing his duty accordingly.
PYJ, a former presidential contender in the 2011 presidential and general elections, is yet to state why he has failed to attend any function of the ECOWAS Parliament. Expressing his concern, Sen. Teahjay said it would be admirable and appreciative were the Nimba County lawmaker to explain clearly why he has not been performing the mandate for which they elected him.
However, due to the seriousness of the matter, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif, who presided over last Thursday’s (October 1, 2015) plenary, recommended for the matter to be discussed in Executive session, meaning in closed doors, barred from the public, including the media.
Senator Johnson and Montserrado County Senior Senator George Mannah Weah, were elected by the Senate as Liberia’s representatives to the ECOWAS Parliament. PYJ has not provided reasons for his continuous absence at ECOWAS, but there have been persistent reports of his arrest if he left Liberia for suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sources hinted that the Nimba County Senator and ex-rebel leader has received tip off that he would be apprehended outside Liberia for questioning about his role during the Liberian Civil War.
The Senator led the dreaded Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia or INPFL rebels that broke away from the main National Patriotic Front of Liberia commanded by former President Charles Ghankay Taylor in 1989.
Both men had slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe as a common enemy, but PYJ’s INPFL captured Doe at the Freeport of Monrovia and mutilated him to death in September 1990. Reports continue to filter here though not independently confirmed that the international community with support from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI is gathering information on former Liberian warlords for possible war crimes indictment.
However, the United States Embassy near Monrovia few months ago dismissed claims of the presence of FBI agents in Liberia for such operation, with Ambassador Deborah Malac saying, if this were so, she would be the first to be in the know.
Johnson, along with several ex-rebel generals here has been listed by Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for allegedly committing heinous crimes during the civil crisis. Besides, sources within the Capitol Building and the Nimba County Legislative Caucus have disclosed that Senator Johnson risks arrest from the Federal Government of Nigeria due to unsettled feud between him and current President Mohammadu Buharie. Edited by Jonathan Browne