Liberians are locked down in a heated debate after opposition Liberty Party’s 2017 presidential hopeful, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine’s call here Wednesday on government to take measures against terrorism, citing growing terror attacks against neighboring states and other nations around the world.
Cllr. Brumskine had suggested the need for government to ban issuance of airport visas, training and equipping immigration officers, the Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police and the army to prevent terrorism in Liberia.
But the counselor’s statement has received mixed reactions from the public, with some accusing him of downplaying issues of common national security threats that they say require immediate action, while others believe terrorism is a global threat and Cllr. Brumskine was not wrong to call for action to prevent same.
Two studio guests appearing on state broadcaster ELBC with opposing views – Mr. Wilfred Bangura and Liberty Party’s spokesman Kla Toomey, were joined in the conversation via live phone calls by listeners, including Liberia’s former Information Minister, Atty. Rev. Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, who gave support to his kinsman, Cllr. Brumskine on Thursday, 3 December.
In his criticism against Cllr. Brumskine, Bangura argued that the immediate security risk that Liberia faces today is not terrorism but the harsh realities on the ground to which he claim the counselor is “insensitive.”
According to him, Cllr. Brumskine has “put this country at security risk more than it has ever been” on grounds that security matters do not require press conference; rather, suggesting that he should have simply forwarded his recommendations to the security apparatus of the country.
Bangura claimed that the LP leader was also insensitive to his immediate neighbors in Africa but is allegedly seeking favor from the international community on grounds that he visited the French Embassy and signed a book of condolence following the recent terror attack in Paris, but failed to post on Facebook whether he identified with Mali, Nigeria, Kenya like he did with France.
However LP spokesman Kla Toomey contended that the consequences of a single strike of terrorist institutions could be far more devastating compared to the ritualistic killing here.
“… You’re talking about situation that will scare –away investors; one child was killed yesterday, of course we regret the situation – Liberia Party … it was yesterday morning that news was publicized,” he said.
He says the LP is recommending that the joint security here ensure some level of restriction and scrutiny of people who are requesting visas. Commenting via mobile phone during the debate, Atty. Rev. Dr. Bropleh commended the two studio guests, but argued that Cllr. Brumskine made an excellent speech as “terrorism can be national and international.”
Atty. Bropleh contended that Cllr. Brumskine did not divert any national security issue because terrorism needs to be discussed here, particularly giving the fact that he brought the issue to the regional and national contexts.
But some callers differed with Brumskine on grounds that Liberia is not sophisticated as other countries that have been hit by terrorists, like the recent Paris, France incident as well as the New York’s attack, among others.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne