Dillon Speaks; Opens Rehab. Center
H. Richard Fallah
MONROVIA: Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has described `the opening of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration (Rehab Center) as a dream fulfilled.
Senator Dillon, taking in the first batch of disadvantaged youth (ZOGOS), on Saturday, April 8, 2023, in Cooper Farm Community, Rehab Road, in Paynesville said, after observing the many young people who are falling prey to drugs addiction in the country; it was time that he, as a national leader, step in to bring back hope to the youthful generation and Liberia in general.
“Our professional and Clinical staff have thoroughly processed the first batch of persons, including five from a far as Bong County, to take in for rehabilitation,” he noted.
He said, it will be a sad thing for they, as decision makers in the country who have the opportunity to do something about the county`s future, to sit and watch an entire generation wash away because of drugs.
The Montserrado tough-talking lawmaker described the initiative as a wake-up call to the national government to invest more in rehabilitating disadvantaged youths who are increasingly growing in their numbers across the fifteen political sub-divisions of Liberia.
He said, ignoring such calls, is a risk, and will only pose more dangers to not only those taking in the deadly substances, but they as leaders, and other peaceful citizens who they (ZOGOS) will always have to trouble just to support their drugs habit.
He observed that if care is not taking quickly, Liberia will soon regret and blame herself for not doing what was right at the appropriate time.
Sen. Dillon: “This is not about politics; we must wake up to save our Children, Brothers, Sisters, Nieces, Nephew, Childhood friends, before it gets too late.
“Glory to God, we have to play our little part in getting our people from the streets to making them productive citizens; whether they be our families, relatives, loved ones, friends; whether we know them or not, we owe it to our country to get involved and help, and this is our way of intervening for the common good,” Dillon Explained.
The guns are silent in post-conflict Liberia following the end of the 14-year civil conflict, but the growing number of disadvantaged and vulnerable youths commonly known as “Zogos” across the country and particularly in Monrovia, remains an imminent threat to the peace and stability of the nation and its peaceful citizens and foreign residents.
“Zogos” in Liberia are child-soldiers and ex-combatants. Normally dressed in rags, these vulnerable youths between the ages of 18 to 35 years are seen during the day hours scavenging dumpsites for fairly used electronics and other materials for commercialization and economic survival; boarding commercial vehicles with passengers, washing cars that have been parked on the streets and other places for handouts, among others.
Others normally take their nap during the day hours, and engage in hijacking, acts of armed robbery or terrorizing peaceful Liberians and foreign nationals of their valuables including money, cell phones, jewelries, computers, among others.
The wave of “Zogos” in Liberia is partly contributing to the proliferation of ghettoes and influx of narcotics and other dangerous substances in the country. Marijuana, Italian-white, cocaine and other dangerous substances are being smuggled into the country on a regular basis.
The porosity of Liberia’s border points, including the ones with neighboring countries make it easier for narcotics and illicit drugs to be brought into the country without any hindrance by international criminal gangs. Just recently, US$100m worth of drugs were brought into Liberia. Few days later, another consignment of narcotic substances was brought into the country worth about US$40m at the Freeport of Monrovia
The unbecoming and wayward attitude of disadvantaged youths has reportedly led to the deaths of several persons, including a pregnant woman, children, worshippers and others in recent times.
It can be recalled on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at least three persons were said to have been killed when officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) fired live bullets during a crackdown on suspected armed robbers and drug dealers in the commercial area of Duala on the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia.
Two of those who were shot dead were believed to be commuters, while the other was considered as a “zogo”.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred when joint security officers attempted to raid a notorious ghetto in the area when the “zogos” retaliated by throwing blunt objects and other deadly weapons, terrorizing business owners and passers-by.
The shooting incident occurred when the joint security officers attempted to arrest and raid a major ghetto in “Kuwait”, one of the notoriously known commercial areas in Duala.
Also, recently at least 29 worshippers, including a pregnant woman, died in a stampede which occurred at the D. Tweh Football field in the Borough of New Kru Town, outside Monrovia; scores of disadvantaged youths reportedly staged a hijacking and robbing attack from the main entrance of the field following the climax of the first day of an open-air crusade on January 20, 2022.