EDITORIAL: Why Additional Nigerian Troops, Madam President?

The government of Liberia last year celebrated ten years of peace amid pomp and pageantry implying that the peace Liberians have yearned for over the past years of devastation was being sustained under the Unity Party (UP)-led administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf which is a welcome development for our country.

Again, the presence of a multi-national peacekeeping force on the ground clearly testifies to the level of security environment currently existing in Liberia.

This, in our mind, has not only encouraged more businesses to open their doors to the public but also attracted huge investments in the extractive industry, mining, agriculture, petroleum, construction, tourism and banking.

More than that, Liberians that fled the country during the war years are gradually returning to contribute meaningfully to the reconstruction drive initiated by this government under its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) scheme.

However, there are reports in government circles that additional troops totaling approximately 700 in number from the Federal Republic of Nigeria are currently in the country upon the invitation of the Liberian Government.

If we go by what we have heard, we believe the presence of these troops in the country is increasingly creating some apprehension in the minds of many Liberians in the wake of the drawdown of the United Nations peacekeeping troops responsible for overall security, from Liberia.

Conversely, we are not oblivious of the fact that the Liberian leader is again up to some pranks under the pretext that she is bolstering the tone of African solidarity between Liberia and Nigeria on the heels of that great nation’s immense contribution to the peace of this once battered nation.

If we may ask, are additional troops necessary at this time when the economy is plagued with a lot of shortfalls in the national budget; does the government of Liberia have a military pact with Nigeria to warrant this new military posture or does the government see some smokescreen somewhere as we await the holding of the special election in October this year.

Without any doubt, it is our conviction that with all these emerging questions, the Legislature has by now begun to probe the intricacies of this new development in national security at the level of the executive; if by any means, they have not yet done that, it becomes imperative that the Liberian leader be invited to the plenary of the House of Representatives to provide the necessary justification for bringing in these additional troops.

We are not saying this to instill fear in anyone but we are certain that any discomfiture in the public space at this time in our history will be counterproductive for the forward march of this nation’s development.

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