Liberia: 'We'll Shine the Light in Darkness'

-- Says Senator Dillon

Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has promised to continuously shine a light on Capitol Hill (Senate) when it comes to preaching and practicing good governance.

Dillon spoke at a one-day national youth policy dialogue on youth and drugs, said "We will shine light in the darkness when it comes to good governance as a country and people. We want to correct the ills in government for the betterment of our country and our people."

The dialogue which brought together some senior officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), a cross-section of students, representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs), was organized by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development n December 5, 2019, in Monrovia.

The one day dialogue was part of NAYMOTE's several initiatives conducted to address some of the ills that exist among young people. In one of the sessions, Senator Dillion told participants that one of the lights he wants to shine on Capitol Hill is to focus on accountability, transparency, and the high level of dishonesty that he said existed over the years among his colleagues.

"My being in the senate is to constructively disrupt all the so-called normal things that are around, but are hurting this country," he said.

Senator Dillon said public service should be about service to the people and country, not to serve for personal gain that would fill the pocket.

"We are committed to you that we will fight to change things, but we also need your support. If things must change, you young people must distinguish yourself from those, who do not want to see a change in the positive direction," he said.

He said as per the dialogue, his office has decided to focus on the less fortunate, who he said are "vulnerable citizens," whose mental directions are being consumed by illegal substances.

Senator Dillion said that the group of young people that are commonly referred to as Zogos, do not need to be Zogos, "but because they have subjected themselves to suffering in any form."

"Old people in their retired age have no sense of economic security; they are also considered vulnerable," he said.

Dillion: "Our focus is on the disadvantaged, the wayward, challenged and the neglected, because the issue of the illegal substance abuse in the country has become a national threat to society. If we do not do anything to ensure that these groups of young people be taken care of, the society will soon out-grow the number of persons that would not have the capacity to develop the country."

He observed that a segment of the society is becoming a growing national security threat to the future generation.

"When people have no capacity at all; they will think that the only thing they can do is to please themselves through the use of illegal drugs, as their everyday activity."

He said it is troubling, especially when people do not have any human capacity to develop themselves. He recalled that as a result of the country's civil war, the first thing one thought of doing was to silence the guns, and then go to elections so that we can elect politicians our leaders.

"Our focus in 1997 was only to take guns from the fighters, and go to elections, and ones the elected officials take office, then all would have been well with us; but we forgot that part of our young population, who had fallen prey to the illegal drugs were to be rehabilitated."

According to him, the past government forgot to know that they needed to rehabilitate those using illegal substances, reintegrated these group of people into society properly because they were traumatized.

"So, by the closing of the war, it was estimated that people in that category that had fought the war included child soldiers, they were put across at ten to fifteen thousand ex-combatants but we neglected them, for too long no one cared about them." He also recalled that during the 12 years of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, there were no national programs to rehabilitate, reform and make them productive citizens in the society to diminish the number of the growth without development.

Eddie Jarwolo, Executive Director, NAYMOTE, told participants that National Policy Dialogue on Youth and Drugs iss important because it will create the necessary awareness through engagements and focusing on the youth who are said to be more involved.

Mr Jarwolo said nowadays the use of illegal drugs has become something serious and uncontrollable in society. Something he believed can only be addressed through these dialogues. We hope that this project could be held across the 15 counties to provide more opportunities for the community to get involved and lead.

Samuel G. Ford, Assistant Commissioner of Police for Community Service, described NAYMOTE's initiatives as cardinal to the fight against the used of substance. in a powerpoint presentation, Mr Ford said the dialogue was also good for young people to understand the sad effect drugs have in the body. He encouraged young people to be ambassadors in their various communities to ensure that this it stops.

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