Bility Wants Nationality Law Amended -To Give Jobs To Dual Citizens

By Sallu K.Swaray

MONROVIA: Issues surrounding the place of Liberians with dual citizens in the country’s legal and social economic setback up rose once again at the National Legislature when Mr. Musa Hassan Bility who represents District 7,  Nimba County asserted that no law in Liberia  should deprive any Liberian, whether at home or abroad,  of exercising their rights provided that the Liberian decides to no longer want to become a citizen of the country just as he introduced a legislation seeking amendment to the nationality law to allow Liberians with dual citizens to be entitled to job opportunities enjoyed by their compatriots back home.

The new legislation introduced by Bility under legislative consideration seeks to amend the old law, which forbids Liberians or Liberian descents holding other nationalities from holding key positions in the country

Addressing Legislative Reporters, Representative Bility stated that anyone that was born in the country must enjoy citizenship and anything that has to do with citizenship, whether or not that person acquires another nationality.

As provided for in Article 28 of the 1986 constitution, “No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law; and no person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality”.  Accordingly, “Negroes and those of Negro descent”, as the law reads, are qualified by birth or by naturalization to be Liberian citizens to preserve the Liberian culture, value and character.

 

Citizenship by law is obtained by any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the Person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided that any such person shall upon reaching maturity renounce any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country.

This suggests unless a person of age renounces the citizenship of one of his/her parents of foreign citizenship, he or she cannot be a Liberian citizen, a provision which also is against dual citizenship.

However, Representative Bility indicated that in his bill as introduced in the lower House of Legislature to amend alien and nationality calls for  consideration of Liberians who are  holders of foreign citizenship and foreign passport to be eligible to run for public officers in Liberia.

“If you leave here for education in any part of the world and become a citizen of another country that should be a plus for Liberia and not a curse,”, Mr. Bility said.

He maintained that such a situation of obtaining foreign citizenship should not be used to prevent any Liberian from being a citizen of Liberia or from preventing the Liberian from running for seat in the House Representative, Senator or for Presidency; or from holding any key executive office in the country.

According to Rep. Bility, no law should deprive Liberians with foreign citizenship from becoming a citizen of Liberia. However he said the bill is not seeking to prevent anyone who chooses not to be a citizen of Liberia his or her right, which he said is a different thing altogether.

Bility reiterated that his bill is seeking to remove difficulties for Liberians who hold foreign passports of renouncing their foreign identities because they want to seek elective or appointed positions in the country, noting that his bill is considering that a Liberia living in any part of the world is like he is living in Liberia.

He related a rhetorical question when he asked journalists whether Liberians who had a fortune to travel and become a citizen of another country should be a curse or a blessing for the country; adding that they should instead be addition and blessing to the country.

“How do you feel about your brother who eventually became another countries’ citizen coming to Liberia looking for a visa,”   he asked, stating further that the new bill  will stop requiring Liberians in the diaspora requesting a visa to come to Liberia.

To ensure his Bill to Amend the Alien and Nationality, he disclosed that he has made consultations with his colleagues before proffering the bill, stating that no Liberian should be denied citizenship and all of its benefits.

Legally, the primary means of obtaining nationality in Liberia is birth on Liberian soil, jus soli, or by descent from a Liberian national, jus sanguinis.  Nationality is restricted to those who are Negroes and no provision is made for foundlings or orphans discovered in the territory with unknown parentage. The Liberian Aliens and Nationality Law 1973 is in conflict with the 1986 Constitution.

The 1956 Aliens and Nationality Law was repealed and replaced by a statute of the same name in 1973. Under its terms only a “Negro” person who was born in Liberia or a person born abroad to a father of African descent who was Liberian of origin and has lived in Liberia, could acquire nationality at birth.

1 Comment
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