Home Economy “Clear And Present Danger” …Weah Terms Upsurge Of ‘Zogos’

“Clear And Present Danger” …Weah Terms Upsurge Of ‘Zogos’

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By; E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Sr.

MONROVIA: President George Manneh Weah has characterized the growing numbers of disadvantaged youths in the country as “clear and present danger” to themselves and the general population.

Officially launching the “National Fund Drive for the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of At-risk Youth” at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town on Thursday, June 30, 2022, the Liberian Leader pointed out that the sharp increase of vulnerable young people in the country poses a serious threat to the entire social-economic fabric of the country.

He used the occasion to rally all hands on deck while pledging the Government of Liberia (GoL) renewed commitment to strengthen the human resource capacity of Liberia, placing emphasis on the plight of disadvantaged youths across the country.
President Weah indicated that in keeping with the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and other international instruments, the government will endeavor to tackle the problems of at-risk youths.

The Liberian President made known his excitement to jumpstart a process that is directed at putting in place mechanisms aimed at addressing the pertinent matters of at-risk youth which he termed as a national crisis.
President Weah: “I am excited today, therefore, to kick-start a series of national transformative measure under my administration to orientate, rehabilitate, and build the capacities of our at-risk youth, through skills-based vocational training, as well as economically empowering them through jobs and business opportunities.”
“After piloting and accessing the success of the SEED project, my government has endorsed a plan by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee and on the UN System for an at-risk youth empowerment program that will further rehabilitate and empower them,” he furthered.

He urged the victims of drug addition by saying, regardless of the number of attention they get from the government and its partners aimed at rehabilitating them, if they themselves lack the determination to enroll in the rehabilitation program, the war against drug abuse will not make any significant impact on the society.
“It doesn’t matter how much people help you, if you do not help yourself, you will have problem, because time is of the essence and doesn’t wait for anyone,” the Liberian leader warned youth battling drug addiction.
President Weah has, at the same time, pledged an initial amount of US$ 1Millon to fund the rehabilitation program of disadvantaged youth with the proposed budget of US$13, 872, 500.
The initiative to launch the fund drive to tackle the increase in vulnerable youths is a strategy by the government and its partners. The effort is aimed at finding solution to the plight of disadvantage youths and to guarantee a better living condition for thousands of Liberia youths.
According to information provided by the National Steering Committee headed by Youth and Sports Minister, Zoegar Wilson there are approximately 150, 000 drug users and over 10,000 ghettos across the 15 sub-political divisions of Liberia.
Minster Wilson alarmed that the increase presence of disadvantaged youths (Zogos) currently in the country represents social economic challenges, as well as an increase in street crimes.
The Youth and Sports boss indicated that government’s quest is to see a genuine youth development and empowerment project. He disclosed that the rehabilitation project will place primary focus on four thematic areas.
He named the areas as; Creating the Enabling Environment, Training, Recruitment and Placement, Promoting Sports and Recreation and along with Social Protection.
He said phase 1 of the project will focus on the selection, orientation and rehabilitation of beneficiaries; phase 2 according to Minister Wilson, will dwell on capacity-building, vocational skills training and social reintegration while phase 3 will endeavor on job creation and provide linkages to business support services.
Minister Wilson disclosed that the rehabilitation process is expected to last for a lifespan of 30 months.
Meanwhile, court records for the year 2020/2022 shows that an amount of 1, 500 drug dealers have been arrested and prosecuted while several cases are still pending trials.
Several efforts aimed at rehabilitating and transforming the lives of disadvantage youths have been initiated by the government and its international partners, and despite these efforts, there still appeared to be challenges as the fight against drug abuse seem as an uphill task for the government.
The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) charged with duty to combat the flow of illicit drug in the country has somehow managed to, on a periodic basis, launch several operations to seize and destroy illicit drugs in the country, but these efforts seem not to be making any significant in the fight against drug.
There have been calls by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the legislature to make drug related crimes a non-billable crime as Liberia’s current law afford individuals accused of dealing illicit drug the opportunity to file a bill bond.

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