6 October 2017

Liberia: Nimba Police Commander Wants 'Officer Station' in Ganta

The Commander of Police in Nimba County has called on authorities of the LNP to establish a quick 'Officer Station' in the commercially bustling populated city of Ganta.

Ganta is fast becoming the face of Nimba which now stands as the largest county in Liberia. In the view of security experts, the growing population of the city also goes with serious security problems.

Nimba has also seen the worst of series of elections violence that mar the campaign process. Altercation in Sanniquellie about 30-45 minutes drive from Ganta between Liberty Party and Coalition for Democratic Coalition sent shockwaves of trepidation down the spines of citizens, some of whom still have memories of the civil war in which Nimba was a key focus.

The LNP is putting in place series of security measures in the county to counteract any mishaps arising from next Tuesday's polls. The LNP has a regional officer station or hub in Yekepa, several miles away from Ganta, to respond to election violence and all matters resulting from the process.

However, Commander Augustine Warri told Internews Women Journalists' Fellowship (IWJF) Wednesday that it is difficult for the officers to respond on time due to the location of the regional hub.

"If you have a situation in Sanniquellie here, before the officers come from Yekepa to respond, the situation had blown into proportion or go beyond control," he bewailed.

As the police is the first line of law enforcement in the country, commander Warri stressed the need for needed tool to respond to situations as they unfold in given localities.

"I was able to speak with the Deputy Commander for Operations Abraham Kormah and I raised the issue; he said he will consider that in his operations plan so that we have officers deployed in the county to respond to this kind of situation," Warri explained.

"With two day to election in term of stepping up the security to ensuring a smooth conduct of the elections they have put in place."

He also weighed in on the fracas between the LP and CDC, and blamed the situation on delay of officers from the regional hub to respond in time as well.

Warri strongly believed the delay of officers to respond contributed to the hype of proportion it reached.

According to him, officers trained to that kind of situation were not present to act.

LNP is investigating the matter and is expected to come up with findings, though it is not unknown the impact it will have when the elections are over.

Warri recommended to the LNP to adhere to call for the establishment of a sub-regional 'officers station' in Ganta to respond to would-be issues coming that may arise during or after the votes on Tuesday.

Warri assured the public of a violence free, fair and transparent process due to the level of security measures employed by the LNP, noting "we have specialized officers who are responsible for all the warehouses in Nimba County and three stations including Sanniquellie, Saclepae, and Tapeta.

Meanwhile, the first badge of elections materials Monday arrived in Tappita via Helicopter due to bad road conditions in that part of Nimba.

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