Amid public outcry and legislative intervention, the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia has put a hold on planned eviction of occupants of the 72nd military barracks in Paynesville, Montserrado County.
Appearing before the House of Representatives on Thursday, 27 April Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Joseph Johnson said, the Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued a stay-order on the planned eviction of the occupants, most of whom are ex-soldiers and their relatives.
The Ministry of National Defense had scheduled the eviction for May 1, 2017 to provide accommodation for active serving members of the Armed Forces of Liberia. Deputy Minister Johnson made the disclosure after the House of Representatives summoned the Minister of Defense Brownie Samukai in response to a complaint filed to Plenary by Montserrado County District#5 Representative Thomas Fallah, in whose district the barracks is located.
In a recent complaint to Plenary, the highest decision-making body of the House of Representatives, Rep. Fallah requested the body to mandate the Defense Ministry to relax the planned eviction at this crucial moment when the country is preparing for peaceful transition through the October elections. When he represented his boss before the Plenary of the House Thursday at the Capitol, Johnson said Commander-In-Chief Sirleaf issued the stay order on grounds that she wants to hold a National Security Council meeting before taking such decision.
Though he did not state the duration of the stay order, but the deputy defense chief said occupants will occupy the barracks until the C-I-C lifts the stay order.He said the decision to evict occupants from the barracks is due to congestion at the Edward B. Kessely Barracks along the Robertsfield highway in Margibi County, something, which Johnson notes, was causing embarrassment to the 14, 000 strong personnel of the AFL and the Ministry of National Defense.
At the same time, the leadership of the House of Representatives has taken seize of the matter, pending a meeting with the Commander-In-Chief and President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne