The entire atmosphere in the provincial city of Gbarnga, Bong County, turned smoky on Saturday, October 11, 2011 when authority of the Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA) set ablaze a huge quantity of marijuana and other dangerous drugs valued at LD$10,940,370.00. The quantity of drug destroyed included 3,614.75kilograms of marijuana, 21.7grams of Cocaine, and 5.0grams of Italian White. The drug was arrested from several drug dealers and traffickers at various locations within Bong County.
The drug suspects were charged and subsequently sent to court for prosecution. In a brief remark at the official drug burning ceremony in Gbarnga City, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Col. J. Henry Shaw, reminded the citizens of Bong County about the danger that drug poses to the society, especially the young generation.Col. Henry urged the citizens of the county to buttress the effort of the DEA and its partners to sensitize and create awareness on the risk of drug in areas where people cultivate marijuana.
Meanwhile, Director Shaw is appealing to national government to increase its budgetary support to the DEA and provide more logistics to enhance its operations in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse.The DEA Director is also requesting the government to join the DEA in its effort to prevail on the National Legislature to pass the drug law. According to him, the law is essential to the fight against drug trafficking and abuse because, he added, the new legislation seeks to make drug crime a non billable offense.
Also speaking at the occasion, Bong County Representative, George Mulbah accused national government of showing less concern towards the fight against drug abuse in the country. According to him, he submitted a bill to the National Legislature in the year 2009 requesting for the passing into law a stringent measure against drug traffickers in the country. “It is saddened to inform you that the drug law couldn’t be passed by the House of Senate despite the law being passed by the House of Representatives”, he said in a frustrating tone. He disclosed that the drug law still lingers at the Liberian Senate and expressed the hope that during the sitting of the incoming 53rd National Legislature, his colleagues in the senate will use their wisdom to pass the law.
He emphasized that drug has been the easiest way that is used to get people involved into violence, adding, “Taking the fight against drug into serious consideration will help to reduce violence in the country.” Meanwhile, Representative Mulbah condemned what the government has allotted in the budget for the DEA. “I am in sympathy with the authority of the Drug Enforcement Agency because what the government has allotted in the budget for the agency is very small looking at the enormous challenges associated with the fight against drug trafficking and abuse”, he noted.
He then promised to strongly advocate for an increased budgetary allotment for the DEA in the 53rd National Legislature if re-elected during the October 11, 2011 polls. Representative Mulbah used the occasion to appeal to the citizens of Bong County to discontinue the cultivation of marijuana, saying, “Growing marijuana in your backyard is not the only easy way to get money. There are other means through which you can easily get money. So, getting money through the destruction of our citizens is not a good venture”, the Bong County Lawmaker averred.
For his part, the City Solicitor of Bong County, Julius Bemah thanked the DEA officers of Bong County for their brilliant role played in reducing the high rate of drug in the county. Mr. Bemah called on the citizens of Bong County to provide the DEA with adequate information concerning the production of drug in the county as well as information relating to the culprits.The burning ceremony was witnessed by representatives from various government security institutions, including the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Some of the institutions represented at the occasion included Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Ministry of National Security. The Ministry of Justice was represented by Bong County’s City Solicitor, Julius Bemah, while Representative George Sylvester Mulbah represented the Bong County Legislative Caucus.