Liberia: Opposition Threatens Protests over Oil

The opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) through its spokesman, Mr. George Solo, has threatened peaceful street protests against what it calls “nepotism” in the governance of the country’s oils sector as well as other problems engulfing the sector. Mr. Solo asserted that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is using “nepotism” in the administration of the oil sector. He cited the appointment of Mr. Robert Sirleaf as Chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) as a case in point. He also named the wealth distribution and percentage of the oil, and the ‘downsizing of Liberian owned companies’ to carry out exploration as some of the problems engulfing the oil industry.

Mr. Sireleaf, who is also the senior advisor to President Johnson-Sirleaf, is one of the sons of the President. His appointment as Board Chairman of NOCAL has since sparked huge debate in the country, with some snubbing the appointment, while others welcoming it.

According to the spokesman of the CDC, the sons of Ghanaian President John Atta Mills and Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan are not over the oil industries in their respective countries, and as such, this should not be allowed in Liberia.

He made these assertions on Friday, May 18, 2012 when he spoke to reporters at his residence in Rehab, Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

President Johnson-Sirleaf could not be reached for comments up to press regarding Mr. Solo’s assertions that she(president) is using “nepotism” in the governance of the country’s oil sector. However, in reaction to similar claim recently, the president through her office categorically rejected such claim, terming it as far from the truth. Among other things, the president via her office added that her son, like any qualified Liberian, has the right to serve his/her country in any capacity or position. NOCAL Vice President for Public Affairs, Mr. Israel Akinsanya, speaking to this paper concerned Mr. Solo’s assertions, said NOCAL has explicit confidence in Mr. Sirleaf as head of the company’s board of directors.

According to him, there is no need to worry about Mr. Sirleaf as he is up to the task and is working in the interest of the Liberian nation and people. However, he said NOCAL wholeheartedly welcomes the inputs of the CDC and others in reforming the oil sector, adding NOCAL is leading the way in the reform process.

But speaking further, Mr. Solo maintained: “CDC will come up with a manifesto on the oil saga very soon. This is where Liberians should stand up and speak for their rights and protest in a peaceful manner. People that govern us should not suppress our hope. We should stand up for our rights. In this direction, we will get on the streets and hold placards. We will ask other Liberians in general to come and join us. The CDC position is clear that President Johnson-Sirleaf is using nepotism to govern the oil sector in our country.”

When managed properly, he said, the natural resource (oil) will benefit the lives of all Liberians both academically and economically.

Mr. Solo pointed out that the oil sector will also contribute positively to the betterment of health care and national security if revenues are used in a transparent and appropriate manner.

Mr. Solo stated that there is a problem when the oil industry is handed over to the offspring of the president.

Mr. Solo averred that the vast majority of Liberians are troubled and worried over Mr. Sirleaf’s appointment as Board Chairman of NOCAL.

“This resource based on values is probably the most relevant resource we have in our country that supposed to change the dimension of our nation economically. If managed properly schools, hospitals and roads are supposed to be built. The future of our country depends on this resource to move forward. We have a problem because President Sirleaf and her son are yet to communicate to the Liberian people the vetting process that qualify him (Robert Sirleaf) to be chairman of the board of NOCAL,” he stated.

The spokesperson of the CDC persistently challenged Mr. Sirleaf to publish his Curriculum Vitae (CV) highlighting educational and working experience that qualified him to chair the oil industry in Liberia.

Mr. Solo also noted that the wealth of the country belongs to all citizens regardless of political affiliation, tribe and religion amongst others.

He then urged the House of Representatives to go beyond just calling for the re-negotiation of all contracts in the oil industry.

He called on the lawmakers should put a complete halt to the entire process until proper mechanisms are put into place.

The CDC stalwart said ‘anything that affects Liberia today will be a great harm to the unborn generation’, and as such, citizens should stand up for their rights through peaceful protests.’

He added that corruption and the signing of contracts that are not in the interest of the citizenry must stop in order to move the country.


Posted by on May 22 2012. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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