The Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP), Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, has observed that Liberia is fast gaining notoriety as a transshipment country for illicit narcotics, with the country shamefully appearing now as a “narco-state”. He stated that the country’s weak law enforcement capacity, porous borders and proximity to major drug transit routes help to contribute to trafficking to and through Liberia.
According to Ambassador Boakai, the recent seizure of US$100 million worth of drugs, the trial that ensued and the mysterious and unexplained departure from the country of all those who stood trial and were “acquitted” is an indication of the extent to which the country has been rapidly exposed, in the last few years, to the “narco” trade, and the vulnerability of Liberian society to the impact of such large-scale assault by international criminal enterprises. “Significantly, it reveals the failure of national leadership, a weak and criminal justice system and crucially raises suspicion about the probable complicity of some higher-ups in this affair,” ambassador Boakai stated.
He underscored that the country is gradually losing its next generation to drug abuse, and if practical actions are not taken urgently, the prospect of future generations inheriting a more complex and challenging national situation looms largely. “The country stands to face a possible future of increased crime rate, unemployment, increased sexual and gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, and TB as just a few of the challenges,” Ambassador Boakai maintained.
Addressing Liberians at the Unity Party (UP) Broad Street headquarters on Monday, June 26, 2023 as it regards a national drug epidemic, Ambassador Boakai said, “Clearly, it is now obvious that the Weah Administration is incapable, unwilling, complicit and indifferent to this crisis. They don’t see it as most Liberians see it—a national emergency. This is why a change in national leadership is and should be now. We must see our votes as an opportunity to want to reverse this dangerous trend by saving our children and securing their future.”
He said he views drug as a threat to national security, and must be elevated to a national emergency. “The statistics cannot be more stark! It is estimated that 2 in 10 youth in Liberia are users of narcotic substances. Some estimates have it that about 13% of the population is affected by drug addiction. The correlation between substance abuse and crimes is equally worrying, with the police reporting an increase in drug-related crimes. To support the overwhelming desire to continue using narcotics, these young people who live in so-called ghettos strewn across this country, in cemeteries, on the streets, and in other unsavory places often resort to crimes, including arm robberies,” the UP Standard Bearer noted.
“These crimes and their effect on victims and those who commit them are heartbreaking because we know they are motivated by the drive for drugs. Currently, there are over 866 ghettos in Monrovia serving as homes to chronic drug users. These ghettos are associated with illicit activities, including launching pads for drug-related crimes.
“Nationwide, everyone living in urban areas knows the location of at least one ghetto, with the increasing presence in most communities of shoes strung over power lines, signifying that a ghetto is nearby.”
Ambassador Boakai continued, “You will agree with me that drug use and related crimes have affected nearly every family and threaten to undermine the very values of our society. We must not allow this to happen! The scale of the drug problem shows the Weah government’s nonchalant attitude towards one of the most critical issues confronting Liberians today, as they have no plans to address it. I promise to declare war on drug trafficking and use if elected, which is why the decision you make on October 10 would be one of the most consequential in your lifetime. I implore you to remain vigilant and know that help is on the way to salvage our young people and society from ‘kush’ and the throes of this epidemic.”