-LRRRC boss tells Liberians in Ghana’s Buduburam Camp

MONROVIA – Amid reports of imminent eviction from the erstwhile refugee camp, Buduburam, in Ghana, of Liberians still residing there, the Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Rev. Festus R.B. Logan, has made the call for the thousands of Liberians still in the former refugee camp to return to Liberia.

“Come back home. There is nowhere like home,” Rev. Logan pleaded with the Liberians still at Buduburam, when he spoke to Women Voices newspaper in an exclusive interview, at his central Monrovia LRRRC offices Thursday.

Although they are approximately in their thousands, it is not clear when it comes to the actual number of Liberians still residing at Buduburam, but Rev. Logan intimated that the LRRRC is currently engaging with its Ghanaian counterpart, the Ghana Refugee Board to inform the GoL, as to how many Liberians opted for Durable Solutions (a refugee operational jargon that has to do with voluntary repatriation, resettlement, and local integration), at the time the international community declared a cessation in Liberia, indicating that following the country’s war years, in the wisdom of the international community, there were now social, economic and political stability restored to the country, and Liberians’ refugee status was officially quashed globally in December 2012.

He said the LRRRC is seeking to know from the Ghana Refugee Board, of the total of Liberians still in Ghana, how many, under the three types of Durable Solutions, opted for local integration, exemption, and refugee status, stating that the Commission is aware that following the declaration of cessation in Liberia by the international Community, some 350 Liberians were granted refugee status – so we are asking the Ghanaian authority, we want to know,” he added.

The LRRRC boss stressed that Liberians still residing in the erstwhile refugee camp, who may have the means to come back home, should do so, noting that many of them are skilled individuals, some of whom he said are professors, entrepreneurs, stating that others are educated, and have other professions.

“Why can’t you find means to come back home,” the LRRRC Executive Director quipped, adding, “We beg you to come back home. Liberia is open for everybody. Liberia is not just for one person. You make [up] Liberia [too], so we want to admonish you to come back home.”

Recently, Women Voices newspaper reported that thousands of Liberians still residing at Buduburam, in Ghana’s eastern region, risk being homeless, amid an eviction order recently issued.

On Tuesday, 3 August, the GOMOA East District Security Council (DISEC) in Ghana issued an eviction order for residents of the erstwhile Liberian Refugee Camp to vacate the area without delay.

Buduburam formerly served as a refugee camp in the Goamoa East district located along the Accra-Cape Coast Highway. It was established in 1990 to accommodate the influx of Liberian refugees who fled the country’s internecine war in the 90s. 

The Buduburam Camp in the Awutu Senya constituency in the Central Region of Ghana, which has for over 20 years been a place of abode for refugees, mostly Liberians would soon be demolished, according to Ghanaian authorities, who say the area which has for over two decades served as a home for refugees will be razed down to make way development purpose.

The GOMOA East District Security Council, in its latest eviction order, also indicated that the planned eviction is intended to make way for a demolition exercise at the area aimed at addressing the rising security challenges emanating from there.

Over the past few months, there have been countless reports of crimes and other social vices being traced to the Camp, Women Voices newspaper has been reliably informed.

Various pockets of crimes including robbery attacks, assassination, and other socially unacceptable deviant behaviors have been traced to people who have used their abodes in the Camp as hideout and safe haven from security personnel, District Chief Executive, for Gomoa East, Solomon Darko-Quarm, said recently, adding that the planned demolition of the Camp was in response to a request by chiefs of the area, over the increasing criminal acts there.

The eviction notice, which was signed by the District Chief Executive, stated that the GOMOA District Council has resolved and further directed that all individuals and groups residing within the former Liberian camp for refugees should vacate the area by Thursday, 30September 2021, to make way for the demolition of the place.

“By this communiqué, all persons living within the affected area should leave and evacuate whatever belongings they may have in the area, before 30th September, 2021,” the eviction notice noted, while emphasizing that said date would not be extended.

But LRRRC Executive Director Rev. Logan said the Government of Liberia (GoL) is concerned about its citizens in Ghana and other countries, indicating that regarding the plight of Liberians still residing at Buduburam, the Commission has begun making several interventions, including communicating with its Ghanaian counterpart, the Ghana Refugee Board, for updates on the matter.

He disclosed that the GoL will shortly commence a consolidated approach aimed at addressing the situation Liberians that are at Buduburam are currently being confronted with, noting that Ghanaian authorities are yet to diplomatically and officially inform the GoL about the eviction notice and the planned demolition exercise that are to effect Liberians still residing in the Camp.

“The first thing we did was to contact the Ghana Refugee Board, that’s our counterpart, to give us an update about the happenings in Ghana. We wrote them, and we anticipate response from the Ghana Refugee Board – again, we were able to inform the Board of Directors of the LRRRC about the incident…we were able to inform the President of the Republic of Liberia about the situation,” Rev. Logan said.

“The President’s office is concern, and in the soonest possible time, government will come up with a consolidated approach with the incident in Ghana,” Rev. Logan emphasized, stating that the LRRRC has already made contact with Liberians still at Buduburam, and made a request for update, as to what exactly are their plights.

He stated that the LRRRC has constituted a protection committee, with the mandate to ensure the safety of Liberians at Buduburam.

The protection committee, according to Executive Director Logan, when given the authorization by president George Weah, and is subsequently funded by the GoL, will shortly travel to Ghana, for series of engagements including meeting with authorities of the Liberian Embassy in that country, having discussions with the Ghana Refugee Board and then profiling Liberians still residing at the erstwhile refugee camp, Buduburam.

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