The issue of rape is a serious crime under the Liberian law and demands hash punishment against anyone involved in such nefarious attitude. Rape in all certainty must be condemned because it demeans the victims and sometimes leads to death or physical disabilities.
We are concerned about the latest rape allegation, which has since surfaced at the Liberian Embassy in the Federal Republic of Nigeria where it is alleged that a seven-year-old Liberian girl was gang raped under unexplained circumstances.
During a recent press conference in Monrovia, the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy in Abuja, Nat Bayjay, reported a sexual abuse incident of his young daughter that occurred on the premises of the Abuja Mission.
Calling President George Manneh Weah’s personal intervention, he said, “So, I am using this press briefing to bring to the attention of President Weah the deteriorating health condition of my eight years old daughter. It’s only been us the family spending money on her medical and post-traumatic or any form of psychosocial counseling as should be done for such a traumatized child.”
Bayjay accused the Liberian Ambassador, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh of protecting the perpetrators of the act rather than the young victim. He revealed that the situation compelled him to move his family out of the government assigned apartment to a private estate at his own personal expense.
At the same time, he also accused the Foreign Ministry’s Special Investigative Committee of further covering up Ambassador Conteh’s bias and one-sided handling of the matter at the expense of the victim. Bayjay has since termed the Foreign Ministry’s investigative report as only amounting to, “nothing more than a diplomatic appeasement and cover-up.”
Ambassador Conteh, in a press statement from the Embassy, however accused Bayjay of “impugning his hard-earned and reputable character,” terming his Minister Counselor’s accusation against him as “libelous utterances and cunningly crafted shenanigans.”
“The Embassy is therefore appealing to the public to avoid condoning unsubstantiated sentiments and rather listen to the facts of the case based on the rule of law,” Amb. Conteh said in a statement on the Embassy’s letterhead.
The news generated public interest, which President George M. Weah took keen interest in and instructed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice to address the situation.
Undoubtedly, this is a serious situation especially at an embassy where we expect individuals of high moral values to be serving their country in another country. Considering that the culprits are identified, as voices of the women and children, we are troubled by the prolonged silence of government on the matter, as the act of rape is wicked and barbaric, for such to take place at our embassy, it has the potential to bring our country reputation to international and public ridicule.
We still hold the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs recent assertion on the Spoon Talk December 28, 2021 Edition: “That issue (rape) is a very serious issue. The President is very serious about that. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice will jointly speak to that very soon. This has drawn the attention of the President. The President doesn’t take the issue of rape lightly, so the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice will speak to the public very shortly”. How soon is this soon?
This situation should not only demand the President’s attention, but a robust action must be taken now because in all fairness, this is a total disgrace to our foreign staff and the country at large. Not only that but it undermines the protection of children at our various foreign missions around the world.
That is why we call on the President to do all within his power to ensure that prompt action is taken so that those involved in this barbaric, cruel and nefarious act are made to pay for their actions. This should not be done on a friendship level or treated as business as usual.
We are sending out this caveat to the Government of Liberia and anyone behind the alleged rapping case to understand that the women of Liberia are watching and that any attempt to undermine or downplay this much-anticipated investigation will be met with stiff resistance from the public mostly the women and girls who are always the victims.
Let it be known that we are not rendering judgment in this allegation but sounding out this warning because our women and girls have been raped for so long and this time around; we will not allow this latest allegation of rape to go with impunity. How soon will the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs speak?