3 October 2018

Liberia: 'Stop Extorting Money From Travelers,' Guinea Amb. Doré Warns

Guinean Ambassador to Liberia, S. E. Alhaji Aldoulaye Doré, has warned security personnel assigned at the border posts to stop demanding money from travelers, "because such an act is illegal and undermines free movement protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Doré gave the warning at a one-day fact-finding visit of a high powered ECOWAS parliamentarian delegation at the Liberia-Guinea border on Saturday, September 29, near Ganta, Nimba County.

He described the act of taking money from travelers at the various points by officers as violation of the travelers' rights. Amb. Doré also called on travelers to also stop giving money to any of the officers assigned at the various entry points of the two countries in return for processing their documents.

Doré informed security officers on both sides of the border that the boundary dividing the countries were drawn by the colonial powers... so it should not be used to create instability among citizens on either side of the divide.

He called on the officers to respect the free movement protocol.

Some of the officers are reportedly in the habit of demanding from travelers not less than 5000 Guinean Franc, which is about L$75, whether a traveler has document or not. On the Liberian side, if a traveler does not have an official ECOWAS Passport, officers demand L$500 for what the immigration called "Border Crosser Pass."

ECOWAS delegation on the Guinean side of the border near Ganta, Nimba County.

Some of the officers on the Liberian side of the border include Immigration, National Security Agency, Major Crime Unit, ECOWAS Brown Card, Ministry of Commerce, Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, Liberia National Police, and Transport, while Immigration has several officers that are assigned to screen the travelers.

All of these conditions, travelers say, pose hardships for them and want ECOWAS to address these cases.

About eighteen members of the ECOWAS Parliament, including four Liberian lawmakers, were part of the delegation.

The visit was under the banner of, "ECOWAS Parliament Sensitization and Fact Finding Mission" and was held in Liberia and Sierra Leone from September 27 to Oct 2, 2018.

About 14 lawmakers from Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal, Togo, Niger, Ghana, and Cape Verde joined the four Liberian parliamentarians, including Senator Prince Johnson, Representatives Edwin Snowe, Clarence Massaquoi, and Haji Siryon.

Authors

Ishmael F. Menkor

Liberia

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