At UNICCO -Liberia Peace And Unity Conference
By T. Saye Goinleh
A meeting aimed at fostering peace among the people of Nimba County organized by UNICCO-Liberia was recently convened in Sanniquellie and brought together government officials hailing from the County, local and traditional leaders, ordinary citizens, civil society actors, as well as eminent citizens from the five ethnic groups in the county focusing on reconciliation, peace and unity.
At the conference, the participants exchanged ideas and opinions, covering different aspects; including culture, governance, and religious tolerance among and between inhabitants from across the length and breadth of Nimba and the role of state actors to provide platforms that bring people closer together from diverse backgrounds to create mutual understanding so as to promote unity and reconciliation.
Over Three hundred participants from across the county and Nimbaians outside Liberia attended the conference which started initially with a parade through the principal streets of Sanniquellie and those who turned out proceeded at the William V. S. Tubman Council Hall where the indoor program was held.
In her welcome remarks, the City Mayor of Sanniquellie, Madam Moima Kamara lauded UNICCO-Liberia for the initiative to bring the people of Nimba together and assured those who had gathered her commitment in the successful conduct of the conference and total guarantee of their security.
For his part, the Executive Director of UNICCO-Liberia, Anthony Z. Weegon said the organization has called them (participants) to always take unity, peace and reconciliation their popular language as the so-called division looms over Nimba.
He said UNICCO-Liberia is currently galvanizing efforts to consult with the leadership of the county’s caucus to make concrete and defining decision on Nimba’s unity and development.
According to Weegon, the peace and reconciliation conference was derived from the backdrop of recent concerned from some citizens about the division of the County, which in his view is a selfish and greedy quest from those who are purportedly between it and not in the interest of the masses.
Vabaka Kromah who served as spokesman for the Mandingo ethnic group cataloged several trending issues that he said have been impeding peace and unity in the County.
Kromah singled out the alleged seizure of legitimate owned land and other properties by their Mano and Gio brothers. ‘’There will be no genuine peace, unity and reconciliation if certain people continued to be marginalized by others in Nimba County’’, Kromah warned.
Also speaking, John Glayway who spoke on behalf of the people of Gbi-Doru District said the people of the district have been disregarded and hardships are being afflicted on them which he blamed on the county central administration of not prioritizing the welfare of the inhabitants of Gbi and Doru in her development agenda.
According to Glayway, it is against this backdrop that the people of Gbi and Doru are in support of the planned division of Nimba. He expressed disappointment that there are no high schools, health facilities, roads and safe drinking water amongst other social services that are seen in other parts of Nimba, adding that they are equally taxpayers to government.
‘’We are frustrated over this unwanted situation being meted out against us and if there are no urgent steps taken to tackle some of these issues expediently, there could be no genuine peace and unity,’’ Glayway alarmed.
Madam Estella Wehyee who spoke on behalf of Nimba women called on the county leadership to build trust, expand negotiations and encourage community development; which in her view, will boost the social spirit of those who live in the most deprived areas of the county (Nimba). She said this is the only way peace and internal stability will be built.