Diaspora Liberians Still On Dual Citizenship Issue

Liberians in the Diaspora want Monrovia pass a legislation legalizing “dual citizen” under the country’s nationality system.

The intent, they said, will enable Liberians in the Diaspora to get reintegrated into the Liberian society and bring back resources earned outside the country for the past years.

At a meeting with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai recently in Sydney, Australia, the Liberian community in Australia leadership noted that it is important for Liberians who accepted other nationalities due to the country’s civil unrest be given the opportunity to reclaim their status in the society of their birth as a means of fostering development back home.

According to Justin K. Koholo, one of the Liberian community leaders, those Liberians that hold different nationalities because of the crisis have the potential to transform the country but couldn’t do a lot with the current limitation about their citizenship status.

“I’m a born Liberian; likewise my children. We sometimes encounter problem with Liberian immigration when we travel relating to the kind of passport we carry. I’m just a citizen by paper in Australia and I consider Liberia my own birth place. Our children need to settle back home,” Mr. Koholo declared.

At the same time, Acting Liberian Community Chairman, Mr. Edward Y. Page appealed to Vice President Boakai and the Liberian Government to establish diplomatic mission in Australia as a means of bringing relief to Liberians in the area.

Mr. Page maintained that opening a Liberian mission in Australia will ease the many difficulties always encountered by Liberians.

“We need a representative here in order to address diplomatic situations in this part of the world. The Liberian community in this area is increasing daily, and as such, our government must address the issue of having a consulate or ambassador here,” the Acting Community Chairman indicated.

“The Liberians in Australia should be treated like those in the United States,” Mr. Page told the Vice President. He asserted that as it’s done to those in the United States, Liberians in Australia must be consulted relative to national decision affecting the country.

Responding to their many requests, Vice President Boakai assured the citizens of his government’s commitment to opening missions across Asia and other parts of the world.

He reminded the citizens of government’s concern about the well-being of its citizens.

He then encouraged them to make use of the many opportunities available to them as there are challenges back home in terms of infrastructural development. Vice President Boakai intimated that the interest in studying in the technical areas will help address the current brain drain situation in the country.

“I applaud you for remittances sent back home to your family members. I know it’s difficult working here and taking care of your families in Liberia and in the mist of all of that; you are trying to contribute to our economy. I urge you to take interest in coming back home and contribute your quota to the society as Liberia needs all of us right now,” VP Boakai stated.

“Even as you are here, I ask that you take interest in studying because industries are on the verge of exploring in Liberia. We want our young people to take ownership of the governance of the state and that can only be done when they are fully prepared,” the Vice President pointed out.

Briefing the citizens about progress made by his government, the Liberian Deputy leader recounted significant progress in the educational, health and infrastructural sectors and pointed out the many challenges ahead of the nation.

“Manpower development, electricity and infrastructure remain a challenge to our government. We have done a lot in those areas but there needs more to be done. Roads, hospitals, educational facilities are constructed but the impact the conflict had on our society is enormous. Our governance system so far has been effective. We are fighting corruption by instituting systems to bring to justice those caught in the act. But it will take some time. How we manage the resources of the state had been very effective since taking over in 2006. We received an award in 2009 for being the first country in the West African region to be Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliance. We are taking steps in managing our resources to develop the human capacity of the state,” Vice President Boakai indicated.

The issue of dual citizenship is currently being debated before the Liberian Senate and had received mixed reaction from lawmakers and members of the public.