New Democrat (Monrovia)

Liberia: Fulanis Citizenship Struggle Gains Momentum

With the Fulanese tribe gaining rapid assimilation in the country, a leading member of the Mandingo tribe has vowed to lead an advocacy that will ensure that the Fula tribe becomes Liberia's 17th ethnic group.

Frowning on discrimination among various ethnic groups in the country, Mr. Alhaji G.V. Kromah, who is also University of Liberia lecturer, argued that Liberia cannot be talking about making progress on the one hand and at the same time engaging in acts of discrimination.

"For too long, we've talked about progress in this country. But let me inform you that this country has made what we called 'twist and turn.' There're more twisting but with only little progress. We need to open our minds in this country," Kromah, who currently serves as Ambassador-at-large for Asian Assairs, told his audience.

Professor Kromah, who teaches Mass Communication at the University of Liberia and International Relations at the IBB, made the statement Thursday at the inauguration program of officers of the National Fulah Council of Liberia (NFC) in Monrovia.

His remarks came as the strength of the Fulanese community, whose members are mainly engaged in trade and commerce, continues to grow in the country with bubbling construction works and many of their children attending some of the best schools.

Looking into the historical perspectives of Liberia, he said, "The first batch of people who came from across the Atlantic Ocean to establish this country was not from here (Liberia). These were all freed slaves who came and became citizens of Liberia. If these people came from America and became citizens of Liberia, what's wrong with someone becoming citizen of Liberia who's from right next door Guinea? We all came from somewhere and so we have to stop discriminating against one another. As of today's date, I want to publically announce that I am going to lead an advocacy that will ensure that a law is passed to make Fulah the 17th ethnic group of Liberia."

Also speaking at the induction ceremony, the chairman of the NFC, Dr. M. Alpha Bah urged his fellow kinsmen to invest in their children's education and make them useful citizens of Liberia.

Dr. Bah said that by investing in education, business, and adhering to the rule of law, the Fulahs, too, can earn their rightful place in the Liberian society, as well as becoming influential citizens.

"Make no mistake the right to citizenship is not going to come easily. You have to struggle for it and if not, you have to earn it," Dr. Bah averred.

"There's no way society can accept you if you do not carry on the right thing. Therefore, I urge you to invest in your children. Educate your children; train them properly so that they grow up in a way that they become useful citizens of Liberia. Let me also caution you to be law abiding and do all you can to live within the confines of the laws of the Republic of Liberia."

Dr. Bah also called on his tribesmen to unite in moving the Fulah community forward and cautioned them to set examples that would reflect the true essence of their organization.

"We must do those things that will represent us as a community. We cannot say one thing and do another thing," he warned.

NFC's officials inducted into office included its new chairman Dr. M. Alpha Bah; Asatu Bah Kenneth, Vice Chairman; Alhaji Bella Diallo, Vice Chairman for Operation; and Sulaiman Jalloh, Secretary. Others were Abraham M. Bah, Assistant Secretary; Ousman Jalloh, Financial Secretary; Abdurahaman Barry, Treasure; and Alhaji Ismaila Dialo, the grand Mufti.

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