Vice President Boakai Hails ECOWAS Citizens’ Union

Monday, 24th October 2011

Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has hailed the ECOWAS Citizens’ Union (ECU), a grouping of naturalized citizens and descendants of the 15 ECOWAS countries resident in Liberia, for reaching the decision to make Liberia their home in good or bad times and ensuring that Liberia remains a stable country.  

He observed that many Liberians are not aware of the sacrifices members of the Union have made to ensure that this country remains stable, noting that when the country was plunged into civil war, it was the ECOWAS sub-regional grouping, through the intervention of some members of the ECOWAS Citizens’ Union that the conflict was finally resolved.

He hoped that someday Liberians will recognize this and give members of the Union the credit due them.

Vice President Boakai made the commendation at the weekend during a consultative meeting he held with officials of the ECU at the Monrovia City Hall. “You have stayed here in good and bad times and some of you have established businesses that have created employment opportunities for Liberian,” the Liberian Vice President observed.

Commenting on challenges confronting members of the ECU, Vice President Boakai called on them to speak out and bring their grievances to the attention of the authorities. “To remain silent; to remain on the fence is not enough,” Vice President Boakai observed, and thanked them for bringing to the attention of the Government problems they were faced with.

“To go through this after you have naturalized is embarrassing,” noting, “When you are paying your taxes they don’t ask where you come from.” “These are the injustices we want to get away from,” he emphasized, noting that the United States is great because everybody resident there is respected as long as they respect the laws. 
Earlier, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Citizens’ Union (ECU), Mr. Yahaya Jalingo pledged their support to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party in the November 8 runoff which is expected to pitch the ruling Unity Party against the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of Winston Tubman.

In his statement at the meeting, the Chairman Jalingo, urged all Liberians not to tread the path of violence, and resolve never again to engage in the enterprise of destruction. “Every Liberia must eschew violence because it leads to destruction. Rather, Liberians must stand together for the greater good of their country and the sub-region.

He however informed Vice President Boakai that members of the ECU in Liberia were faced with series of challenges, including the refusal of some Liberians to fully accept descendants of ECOWAS citizens as true citizens of Liberia.

“We want to make contributions to our country, but the way we are treated is frustrating.
When we go for passports, we are branded as foreigners,” Mr.Jalingo said.

He said no naturalized Liberian is in government, adding that sometime ago they were asked to submit a list of qualified members, but that the list died a natural death.

“The average Liberian is very accommodating, but the problem is official. They continue to call us foreigners; our papers are never correct,” he emphasized. “We don’t claim to be more Liberian than other people, but we need to be appreciated and accepted,” he added.
In remarks, an Advisor of the Union, businessman Shariff Abdallah said the Union was supporting the second term bid of President Johnson Sirleaf because the Unity Party has exemplified a singular ability to move the country to higher heights.

He cited some achievements of the Unity Party-led Government, including making the country debt-free and the prospects of speedy development of Liberia under a Unity Party-led Government.

“We have faith in the will power of this government; so we are here to give you our commitment to the re-election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. We know that if we miss it, we will be on the wrong track.”