While touring the Bahn Refugee Center, in Bahn, Nimba County Wednesday, where Ivorian refugees that fled hostilities in their country are being hosted, President George M. Weah used the occasion of dedicating a durable housing unit for the Ivorian refugees to also caution them to stay out of trouble and remain law-abiding. Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson for his part warned the refugees against using their Bahn sanctuary as a launching pad against their homeland, La Côte d’Ivoire.
Addressing the refugees, first in French and later in English, President Weah called on the Ivorians to remain law-abiding and civil as they are being hosted on Liberian soil.
Reminiscing on the trials and tribulations that Liberians endured during their own civil war, President Weah reminded the Ivorian refugees that Liberians living in La Cote d’Ivoire were civil.
He recalled that Liberians were law abiding, and that they respected the governance policies of their host country. “We had our rights as Liberian refugees, so we expect you to do the same in Liberia”.
President Weah furthered that it is the choice of refugees to return to their country or stay in Liberia. He disclosed that he had learned through the UNHCR that some of the refugees are hoping to be Liberians.
The Liberian leader admonished Ivorian refugees wishing to remain permanently in the country to go through the legal process and obtain the necessary documentation. “We don’t want trouble in our country,” President Weah cautioned.
For his part, Senator Prince Y. Johnson had earlier reminded the refugees that Liberians are reciprocating the goodwill gesture the government and people of La Cote d’Ivoire extended to them during the height of their civil war.
“We are giving back to you people what your country did for us during our own civil war in 1990. When our war was raging here, most of our people went to Cote d’Ivoire as refugees. So this is just what has happened to your people,” Senator Johnson stated, further calling on the refugees to be law-abiding and never revert to using Liberia as a launching pad against Cote d’Ivoire.
Following the meeting with the refugees, President Weah later hosted a Town Hall meeting in Bahn City where all stakeholders, including youth groups, women and religious groups of the Bahn, petitioned their leader to spur development in their county.
President Weah’s tour of Bahn City is in continuation of a two-week nationwide tour which kicked off last Friday in Bong County with the launch of the Agriculture Trade Fair, showcasing made-in-Liberia produce and celebrating Liberian entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector.
From Bong County and now Nimba County, President Weah has been tumultuously received with rousing jubilation, as citizens lined the streets chanting: “George Weah! George Weah! Gbekugheh! Gbekugbeh! Bad Road Medicine”, among other praises.
President Weah who arrived in Tappita last evening departs Nimbia County today for Grand Gedeh County and is expected to receive a similarly tumultuous welcome Friday when he and his entourage arrive in the County.