Changing Mind And Attitude: My Thought On The Recent Violence In Ganta City

By Morrison O.G. Sayon-email Cell#0886-591-509

When Former Information Minister, Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh spoke of Changing Mind and Attitude, many of our compatriots could not understand this very important message and so others began to make fun of it. Some even went to the extent of accusing Dr. Bropleh of preaching perfection when in fact he himself is not. Well, that’s the kind of society we live in here. Those who strive for the best of the society are always ridiculed or criticized.

I raise this issue based on the recent violent riot that occurred on September 30, 2015 in the financial hub of Ganta, Nimba County in which lives were lost and millions of dollars’ worth of properties got damaged simply because someone was accused of involving in ritualistic killing. Don’t get me wrong, the issue of ritualistic killing is a serious crime under the Liberian laws and as such anyone caught or held liable for such act in a competent court of jurisdiction must face the full weight of the law. There is no compromise to that.

During my visit in that northern part of Liberia I was shocked to have learned that the more than one thousand rioters mostly youth, the future leaders of our country who ravaged the entire Ganta city acted based on rumors, that is they acted without facts. According to what I gathered when I went to Ganta to get the true story related to the violence, I was told that a gentleman identified as Prince Howard, proprietor of the Alvino Hotel and lodge paid some gentlemen to provide him with human blood. It was at this point according to the information that a motorcyclist was murdered in cold blood by some unidentified men.

It was also reported that one of those involved was apprehended by the angry rioters who allegedly gathered from him that he and others were paid by one Prince to provide human blood. The rioters without getting sufficient information or evidences from him according to some residents of Ganta killed him and got on the rampage, destroying the Alvino Hotel and lodge, burnt the residence of Mr. Howard, damaged and looted the police Detail in Ganta before getting on a looting spree in every corner of Ganta City.

While I personally condemn the act of ritualistic killing, I also take serious exception to the level of damaged done in the city especially the destruction of Prince Howard’s properties and his official residence only on the basis of “Deh Say.” This attitude of some Nimbaians raised several issues than answers: What was the basis of the violence?; Were there sufficient evidences to act on?; Was the matter taken to the appropriate government or county authorities? Did the Liberian Government fail to act or prosecute those accused of ritualistic killings or any other form of killing or crime in the county for that matter?

Let me say here without fear that Nimba County is fast developing socially, economically and politically; Nimba County, from my own observation and from all indications, is the fastest growing county among the rest of the counties in the area of infrastructure development. The county has produced lots of respected and hardworking politicians who are decision-makers in Government and other sectors.

Nimba County especially Ganta City, which is being described as the commercial district of Nimba, has one of the fastest growing economies as compared to other counties including Montserrado County, the seat of the Liberian Government. Young people in the county are business-oriented and the citizens are without doubt hard-working. Because of the strives being made by the citizens especially some of the young people including Mr. Prince Howard, the accused, Rep. Jeremiah Koun and others, Ganta City is referred to as the ‘Sleepless City.’

But in all fairness, Nimbaians need to change their minds and attitudes. Nimbaians must understand that violence cannot solve any problem. We all went through it for many years and could not find amicable solution. We devastated our country, brought our nation’s economy to zero and destroyed thousands of lives. In these situations, Nimbaians were accused of being the principal actors; Even though Nimbaians alone cannot be blamed for the carnage that ravaged our entire country.

Let us be very practical and clear here that the perception out there about Nimbaians is unfavorable. People look at Nimbaians as violent people in all fairness, that’s the perception. While there are thousands of good Nimbaians in the country and abroad who are making positive contributions to the nation and the world at large, there are few others who are damaging the good image of Nimbaians. They are not helping the county at all. They are not helping the good people of the county. We must come together and expose these individuals who are bent on negative attitude.

Nimba has reached a stage where it cannot turn back; the county is in its stage of growth and development and as such, let no one or few group of disgruntled individuals throw the county back where it came from years back. Let us all reason together now and tell these people that indeed there is no room for violence again in Nimba and even the entire country. We should not destroy our image because of things that can be handled very easily.

About the Author:

Morrison O.G. Sayon is a Liberian Journalist with over ten years of experience, he is the Associate Editor of The INQUIRER Newspaper, the author is also the Inquirer’s Executive Mansion Bureau Chief and Vice President of the Executive Mansion Press Corps.