PRES. WEAH CALLS FOR MODIFICATION OF DRUG LAW ………….As GoL Launches US$13M Fund Drive to  Rehabilitate At-Risk-Youths

By; Jerromie S. Walters

Congo Town, Liberia: President George Weah is calling on the National Legislature to ensure relevant amendment of the existing drugs law, in ensuring that drugs trafficking becomes a non-bailable offense.

The Liberian leader made the disclosure mid Thursday June 30. 2022, following the launch of US$13M national fund drive for the rehabilitation and empowerment of At-Risk-Youths across Liberia at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Liberia.

“I am calling on the National Legislature especially the Senate, to make whatever modification that may need to be made to amend our existing drugs law, so that drugs trafficking become a nonbailable offense,” he urged.

The current Drug law is a bailable offense, as such offenders are released immediately back to the community. 

However, research conducted by the government through the Liberia Repatriation Resettlement and Reintegration Commission (LRRRC), has shown that there are about 10,000 ghettos across Liberia, with a total of 118, 000 At-Risk-Youths. 82, 000 of 118, 000 At-Risk-Youths are found in other counties, while 36,000 of them are situated in Montserrado County.

Judging from said backdrop, the
President  further called on government agencies including the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) to ensure that applicable laws are fully enforced to ease the availability of drug across Liberia.

As the consumption of drug or narcotics substances is obviously an addiction which solely requires one willingness to let go of it, the President pleaded with the At-Risk-Youths to see reason in desisting from it, and returning to their respective homes, as the betterment of Liberia heavily depends on the youthful population.

He encouraged all Liberians to join government in the reclaiming process of the At-Risk-Youths off the streets; stating that an increase in the number of the At-Risk-Youths across Liberia, has the propensity to pose threats and insecurity on all Liberians. 

He however launched the fund drive on behalf of the government with
USD$1 million united States Dollars and vowed additional commitment in concurrence with the next budget.

President Weah described the youths of Liberia as his concern, as he remains committed to their well being, and ensure they are well equipped to take advantage of the economic opportunities available in society.

In a brief overview at the kickstart of the fund drive, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson said the program was strategized to be conducted for 10 years, but to intrinsically begin with the first two and a half years beginning this year.

The program which cost is calculated around USD$13.8 million for the first session, is in line with the government’s Propoor agenda, the AU 2061 and the SDGs.

It’s implementation process is arranged into several conponents that includes; selection, orientation and rehabilitation, especially at
phase one.

It will also cover social protection, factors influencing the behavior of At-Risk-Youths, security and economic challenges imposed by youths in Liberia.

The commencement of the program will bring into light the renovation of the Bensonville Youth Agriculture Training Center, as well as the construction of new facilities to meet the program’s objective

Confining in the President’s thought, Mr. Wilson said the need for assessing the effectiveness of the law enforcement with regards to eliminating drug use and abuse in Liberia, is of great importance.

He believes the issue of reforming the drug law is of essence to the program, as those responsible for the importation of drugs should be penalized accordingly.

At the same time, World Bank Country Director Pierre Frank Laporte lauded the Weah-led Administration for the initiative, and assured the World Bank commitment in aiding the government in the needed ways.

Mr. Laporte said except through a systematic, structure and comprehensive way, as they are the most relevant ways forward, as it requires a holistic and bold solution.

He further guaranteed the World Bank willingness in looking through it’s many social projects to create more opportunities that are in line with the government’s program, which can be used to address the rapid increase in the At-Risk-Youths across Liberia.

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