The Analyst (Monrovia)

30 January 2012

Liberia: Bo-Waterside - 'Poro' Activities Disrupt Revenue Collection

Credible Reports gathered by this paper say normal activities have come to a standstill at the Bo-Waterside due to a number of Poro activities taking place in the area.

As a result of the situation, the reports have it that ongoing revenue collection has also been put to a halt.

Speaking to this paper over the weekend, the Senior Custom collector at the Bo-Waterside, Ephraim Miller confirmed the situation, describing it as a total disappointment.

“With the pledged  made by the Liberian government in committing itself  to the collection of custom duties for the development of the country, this process, as it is currently at the Bo-Waterside, is seriously being undermined due to Poro activities at the border entry”, Mr. Miller, senior Custom Collector  at the Waterside said.

Though he did not say the total amount government is currently being deprived of as a consequence of the “poro” activity, he, however, averred that national government is being denied several thousands of revues.

“Those carrying on the poro activities don’t have a fixed time”, he narrated. “One embarrassment the issue is causing also is that those who are not members of the Poro Society are not having the chance to move freely”, the Senior Custom Collector indicated.

The Senior Custom collector then called on the Commissioner of Custom and Excise, Decontee T. Kings to quickly intervene in arresting the situation.

In the same token, a complaint file to Mr. Miller by a representative of traders using the Bo-Waterside route, Mr. Mohammed Bangura, the group alleged constant harassment against them (none Poro members) by the Society’s elements.  Banguru termed the situation as a complete embarrassment to their movement, and called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to urgently intervene.

Mr. Bangura also vowed his group will take all appropriate measures to protect themselves as a remedy to the situation if the GOL does not timely intervene into the matter to remedy their situation, but nonetheless failed to state exactly the measures he promised to implement.

“Poro Society” is one of Liberia and Africa’s oldest traditional schools where boys are thought manhood and made matured for future challenges. Nonetheless, the practice has come under increased criticisms over the years from none members, in Liberia, for example, particularly regarding the untimely nature of its activities, including the coercion and or embarrassment caused to others (none poro members), something that often provoke tension in different parts of the country, thus leading government’s intervention.

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