Well-Armed Ivorians In G’ Gedeh Forest…Senator Tells Plenary, As Senate Wants Exec. Branch Handle Acelor Mittal Lay-Out Plan

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

Acts by some Ivorian nationals identified as ‘intruders’ said to be operating an agricultural estate in the Grand Gedeh forest along the Liberian-Ivorian border have reached the plenary of the Liberian Senate for action.

A communication read in the Liberian Senate yesterday from Grand Gedeh County Senator, Marshall Dennis, informed that august body about the so called ‘intruders’ describing theirattitude as an unfortunate, disturbing and dangerous development for the entire country.

He further informed the Senate that in early May, residents in the Gbarzohn District discovered those Ivorian intruders who had entered that part of the county andconstructed an agricultural estate by planting tree crops, cocoa, palm, etc.

He explained how residents promptly reported the matter to the county’s authority leading to the immediate arrest and detention of six of the intruders in Zwedru City but shortly thereafter and for unexplained reasons the arrestees were released and turned over to the Ivorian border authority.

Senator Marshall told the Senate plenary that in a week after their release, apparently as an act of provocation or the Liberian government’s ability to institute corrective actions, over 200 of them re-entered the same forest well-armed and prepared to man and defend their settlement on the Liberian soil.

The Grand Gedeh lawmaker further said it was against heeding his advice; another complaint this time documented was made to the Ministry of Internal Affairs through the County Superintendent filed as a result of the second complaint; it was then that a team comprising investigators from Monrovia joined a local citizens’ group reached the scene for verification.

He alarmed how extremely concerned he isdue to the response so far from the report of the investigation team as it is nothing more of a conspicuous silence while the territorial integrity of Liberia is being violated thereby craving the intervention of the Liberian Senate.

Meanwhile, in other legislative news, the AcelorMittal’s recent decision to deduce its workforce by20 percent due to what it termed as ‘unfavorable market’ condition has met stiff resistance from members of the Liberian Senate.

The Senate’s plenary upon receipt of such action to be meted out against Liberian employees by the foreign concession company sometimes ago, directed its committees on Labor, Lands, Mines and Energy, and Concession Agreement to act appropriately.

The committees reported back to plenary with a three-count recommendation that the Government of Liberia rendersimmediate decisions on the pending decision while the company be mandated to withhold its action pending the government’s action and also that the Ministry of Labor withholds all actions surrounding the planned redundancy until full decisions have been reached by government.

The committees realized that even with the company’s plan afoot, it must also understand that it cannot effectuate its plan without prior knowledge or approval from government through the Ministry of Labor.

The committees informed the Senate that its recommendation followed careful analysis that AcelorMittal, a multimillion dollar mining company situated in Nimba County, prior to its decision has been requesting the government for tax exemption on some services provided, something which the government does not stand to provide for reasons to be established.

The committees further observed that with the prevailing economic situation in the labor sector was gravely affected by the Ebola crisis that witnessed the recessing of some concessions which are now requiring tremendous efforts both on the national and international fronts to revamp the economy to give way to more opportunities for its citizens such harsh and untimely measures envisaged by the company.