Providence, Rhode Island — The State of Rhodes Island in the United States of America has bestowed a special honor on Liberia radio icon and political activist Henry Costa.
The Certificate of Special Recognition to Mr. Costa is in honor of his civil rights advocacy in Liberia and in appreciation of being a voice of the voiceless Liberians. "I am pleased to issue you this certificate of Special Recognition. You have my best wishes for your continued success," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said in the signed certificate dated March 7th 2020.
In recent years, Mr. Costa has had several run-ins with the George Manneh Weah-led government, which recently led to the closure of his radio station, Roots FM.
Last October, dozens of armed police shut down the station which broadcasts the highly-rated Costa Show.
In January, Mr. Costa was forced to flee Liberia by way of neighboring Sierra Leone after getting wind of information that the government was plotting his arrest.
Immigration authorities have for the past months been investigating circumstances as to how Mr. Costa, the lead organizer of recent anti-government protests, obtained what the authorities have determined to be a forged travel document.
Costa arrived in Liberia on 19 December, using a laissez-passer document, which he said he obtained from the foreign affairs ministry. But immigration officials in Monrovia say the document was forged.
On Saturday 11 January, Costa presented himself at the headquarters of the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) unaccompanied by his lawyer Findley Kangar.
Mr. Costa has repeatedly accused the Weah administration of plotting against him, due to his public stance against corruption, inequality and inflation.
Costa admitted he initially travelled from the United States, where he is studying, using his official Liberian passport. Once he got to Ghana, he decided to use a laissez-passer instead of his passport. "I used that laissez-passer to travel from Accra to Liberia because I wanted to obtain an Italian visa so that I would be able to visit my son who lives in Italy," he indicated. He said he wondered why immigration officials allowed him to enter Liberia if they claimed the laissez-passer was forged.