Statement By The Office Of Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Standard Bearer of The Unity Party

Statement By The Office Of Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Standard Bearer of The Unity Party

23 January 2022

Fellow Citizens; with a heart shattered by grief over the loss of 29 precious lives of Liberians in the recent horrific stampede incident that occurred in the New Kru Town community, I extend my prayers and deepest sympathy to the bereaved families. May God grant you all solace during these dark and devastating hours.
As we mourn the sad and devastating deaths of our fellow compatriots most of whom are innocent children whose glorious future was painfully thwarted by this dreadful and unfortunate incident, I call for a speedy and credible investigation into the entire episode that instantly claimed these valuable lives and inflicted bruising bodily wound on several more. This horrifying toll would no doubt tinge on our hearts forever.
Consequently, in these somber and wailing moments, the most respect and love we can give to all who have died in this stampede is to fairly serve them justice without fear and favor. The grieving families deserve to know what caused the deaths of their beloved relatives who had peacefully gone to seek the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be tragically exterminated by a stampede as reported so far. Liberians in their generality also deserve to know what caused the chilling demise of their fellow compatriots.
Fellow citizens, even as we await the investigation and its subsequent outcomes, we cannot blindly gloss over the hard truth that the issue of sprawling disadvantaged youth alias “Zogos” across the length and width of our country has reached a crisis proportion and the fierce urgency to tackle what seems an existential threat hovering over the nation cannot be overemphasized or taken lightly.
The issue of thousands of our disadvantaged kids unpleasantly characterized as “Zogos” is a national crisis that demands a compelling, pragmatic, and structured national solution. This, I believe, must be treated with the greatest degree of exigency and urgency. The time is NOW for the nation through its government to design a comprehensive and doable national program with the appropriate budgetary allotment to address and resolve this crisis once and for all.
The thousands of young Liberians hooked on drugs and sheltering in the streets corners and ghettos across our country deserve much better and we as a country inarguably owe it to them, to ensure that they are decisively removed from the streets, sheltered in befitting correctional facilities, adequately rehabilitated, and methodically reintegrated into society as better citizens who can pursue greater dreams like all of us. The well-being of these disadvantaged kids is squarely the responsibility of the government and the government must own up to its responsibility now. For me, this is not politics or an attempt to politically leverage this crisis as some political pundits from the opposing side of the political spectrum would more likely than not accuse me of doing. This, for me, is the faith of our nation which borders on national security and the balance of the social fabric of our homeland, which, more than anything, must be treated with the highest degree of emphasis.
While the act of thuggery and gangsterism which has become a way of life and survival for these kids is reprehensible, disconcerting, and condemnable, there are lingering questions for all of us to ponder over and rationalize the circumstances we are faced with at the hands of these troubled young kids. If these disadvantaged kids are abandoned by their country and their fate is to maraud the streets and fend for themselves without a vocation, what do we expect of them? If terrorizing peaceful citizens is the only means of survival for them, what do we expect of them? If being hooked on drugs and dwelling in graveyards as their permanent abode is the fate of these beautiful kids, how do we expect them to be better citizens?
I, therefore, call on the government to take genuine action now. I recommend an immediate national dialogue to weave a roadmap on the essential need to save the thousands of these young people across our country through a national program backed by appropriate budgetary allotment. We have no choice, it’s either we do it now or we sit supinely while these disadvantaged kids expand into battalions of beastly thugs and wage a dreadful war on all of us one fateful morning—and the consequences I bet would be much dire than what we sadly experienced in New Kru Town a few days ago. By this, I like to emphasize that the National Solution that would emerge from the National dialogue which I have herein proposed will save the lives of both these disadvantaged youths and the lives of all of us as well as preserve the hard-earned peace of the country.
Fellow citizens, this is a national crisis created by ourselves, let’s immediately own up to it and collectively confront it with the singular purpose of solving this spelling nightmare once and for all. I hereby declare my willingness by any means possible to sit on this dialogue with other stakeholders and expert individuals to etch out a national solution to address and eradicate this creeping national threat.
I offer my prayers for our nation during these dark hours of national morning.
God bless Liberia.

Issued by the Communication Team of Amb. Joseph Nyuma Boakai Office (23/01/2022)

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