MOD Releases 66th AFL Day Program -In Partnership with LoneStar CellMTN

By Stephen G. Fellajuah 

MONROVIA – The Ministry of National Defense (MOD) in partnership with Lonestar CellMTN, has officially released series of events in observance of the 66th Armed Forces Day Celebration which will begin February 3 to 11, 2023 under the theme, “Inter-Agency Collaboration: Working Together for Peaceful Elections”, while the topic for the symposium is “Fostering Effective Stakeholders Engagement for Sustainable Democracy”,

Addressing a major press conference Thursday, January 26, 2023 at the Ministry of National Defense, Sam K. Collins, Assistant Minister for Public Affairs said on February 11, 2023, the AFL will be celebrating its 66th Armed Forces Day and 115 years of existence, dating back to 1908. 

 The Armed Forces Day celebration, according to him, has always been used as an opportunity for the public, foreign guests, and dignitaries to be acquainted with activities regarding the development and progress within the AFL.

Outlining activities of the celebration, Mr.  Collins noted that the 66th Armed Forces Day celebrations which begin 3 February 2023 are interspersed with several activities, the activities, beginning with the Jumma Service at the EBK Military Barracks(EBK), where a Muslim Prayer service which dedicates the nation and AFL to the Almighty All for His continual guidance and protection.

The second activity will be on Saturday, 04 Feb 2023 which will be the Civil-Military Relations and will include Cleanup Campaign and will be conducted within the general area of Duport Road from 0600-1200hrs. 100 AFL personnel along with employees of the Ministry of National Defense and the residents of Duport Road will give the community a facelift, an exercise which will be executed in partnership with Lonestar CellMTN and the Paynesville City Corporation.

Also the Medical Outreach, will be held within the general area of Po River, Bomi County and will be conducted from 0500hrs -1500hrs where a team of 20 personnel from the Medical Command will cover general health education, HIV prevention messages, and basic medical screening for the local inhabitants. A few outpatient treatments will be applicable. 

A Mini-Sport Tournament to climax the day, comprising the Joint Security, Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Liberia Motorcycle Union, Tri-Cycle Union, and the Liberian National Student Union (LINSU) will be held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, commencing at 1000hrs. The tournament will also see 2 female soccer teams from the Liberia Football Association participating. 

Assistant Minister Collins also said that a Christian Thanksgiving service will be held on Sunday, 05 February 2022 at the International Military Church, Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks, Schiefflin, Margibi County.

He went on further that on Tuesday, 07 February 2023, a symposium will be held at the Monrovia City Hall, beginning at 1000hrs. It will bring together relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the topic “Fostering Effective Stakeholders Engagement for Sustainable Democracy.” The topic is aimed at ensuring adequate preparation for the 2023 general and Presidential elections. 

Collins said Mr. Stephen Rodriguez, the UNDP Resident Representative will serve as Keynote Speaker with other distinguished personalities serving as panelists including Mrs. Josephine Nkrumah, Resident Representative of the President of ECOWAS; Honorable Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives; Honorable Eugene Nagbe, Commissioner, Liberia Maritime Affairs; Reverend Father McDonald W. Nah, National Director, National Commission for Justice, Peace and Caritas (NCJPC); Imam Sheikh Ali Krayee, Chief Imam, Republic of Liberia; Honorable Williametta Piso Saydee-Tarr, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Honorable Steve J.H. Zargo, Senate Committee on Defense, Security, and Intelligence and Veteran Affairs. 

He said expected at the occasion include Ambassadors, the Legislature, Clergies, international and local NGOs, some prominent citizens, Academics, and the Fourth Estate. Additionally, several paramilitary institutions, students, and members of the Press Union of Liberia will participate in this auspicious event.

Continuing with the outline of the celebration, Collins stated that Wednesday 08 and  Thursday 09 February 2023 will be set aside for Units Display at the Barclay Training Center various units of the AFL will showcase their equipment at different stations as well as displaying the capabilities, roles and functionalities within the AFL. He said the program will be opened to students who will be dressed in their uniforms.

Assistant Minister Collins said that the main event of the celebration will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Barclay Training Center(BTC), starting at 6000 hrs and will be hosted under the theme, “Inter-Agency Collaboration: Working Together for Peaceful Elections.”  He said the Guest Speaker will be Maj Gen Pablo Estrada, Commanding General, of 46th Military Police Command (Task Force 46), Lansing, Michigan, United States of America. 

“The Parade will be reviewed by His Excellency Ambassador George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. It will be graced by the presence of very eminent and distinguished traditional leaders, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Diplomatic Corps, the Clergy, the Academia, Distinguished Liberia Citizens, and Senior Officers of the AFL, retired and serving alike. Other important dignitaries will include the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard, United States, and the AFL Principal Staff Officers. 

“The official celebration brings together all National Security Services (Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National Fire Service, Liberia Custom Service, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency, Monrovia City Police, Liberia Seaport Police, Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation, Forestry Park Rangers, and Liberia Scout Association) to form part of the parade at the BTC Parade Ground and a march through the principal streets of Monrovia”, he said. 

He concluded that Colonel Washington Bowier (Rtd), Liberia Air Wing; and Lt Col Nathaniel NP Nah, Sr., (Rtd), Liberia Air Wing, have been selected as recipients of this year’s Distinguished Service Order (DSO).  “These distinguished personalities have served the Armed Forces of Liberia over the years with unwavering dedication and distinction. Thus, they are well-placed to receive the DSO”, he said. 

Also speaking at the press conference, Madam Nola Enders, Brand and Media Coordinator at Lonestar CellMTN expressed excitement for this year’s celebration particularly about the theme “Inter – Agency Collaboration: Working Together for Peaceful Elections”.

“As we all know, we are approaching election, and it is important that we all come together and enjoy the unity and the peace that we continue to enjoy over the past years”, she said and underscored that the introduction of the unit display will encourage more people to sign up for the Armed Forces. 

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