Open Letter To President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
From George H. Nubo
April 13, 2011
George H. Nubo
I bring you greetings from the people of Klebo Chiefdom, Pleebo/Sodoken District in Maryland County with heavy heart and disappointment in the government inaction to curb the volatile situation in our community.
This is a reminder of the On-The-Spot/Technical Committee Findings of 2007.
1. Oscar Toe and Nathaniel Dobboh of the Nemiah tribe of Grand Kru County be punished for the illegal tapping and felling of rubber trees to serve as deterrent to would-be violator(s) planning aggression on either side of the conflict.
2. The late Dwe Williams and Mr. Nma Cummings of the Gbewin, Nyanbo Tribe rubber farms were tapped illegally and rubber trees cut down; the total numbers of rubber trees cut down were nine (9).
3. The Yapla Creek is considered by the Nemiah Tribe of Grand Kru County and Nyanbo Tribe of Maryland County as the temporary demarcation.
4. The two (2) huts built on the disputed land by Moses Geddeh and Nathaniel Dobboh of the Nemiah Tribe be relocated on the Nemiah side within the period of 12 calendar months.
5. The late Jacob Nyemah’s Rubber Farm on the Nyanbo side of the disputed land (Maryland County) was unanimously accepted by both tribes as being on the Nyanbo Land.
6. The issue of living together was confirmed by both the Nemiah People and Nyanbo People of Grand Kru and Maryland Counties respectively.
7. The both tribes farm together on the disputed land but should not build huts and plant life trees.
8. That each side of the conflict serves as a watchdog to one another in reporting all violations for punitive actions to be taken by government authorities concerned.
9. That any party who comes in violation(s) of any of the findings and recommendations be penalized immediately by the government authorities concerned.
The above mentioned points are summary of the On-The-Spot Committee and Technical Committee’s Report of February 23, 2007. This Committee comprised both the Commissioners and Districts Officials of the Pleebo/Sodoken and Garraway Districts of Maryland and Grand Kru Counties, and the Technical Committee of representatives from Maryland and Grand Kru Counties as well as UN Representatives from Grand Kru County.
Due to the failure of the Government to implement the above mentioned points and the continuous violation of those findings and recommendations on the part of the Nemiah People, the People of Pleebo/Sodoken District mirrored these same issues in their Statement that was presented to you, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during your visit to the District on March 31, 2011 as an official complaint of the people of Pleebo/Sodoken District, Maryland County as regard the land dispute between the Nyanbo People of Maryland County on one hand and the Nemiah People of Grand Kru County on the other hand.
Of course, the people of the District have made several observations to the county authorities, but we have gotten no redress. They (Nemiah People) have continued to violate the findings and recommendations of the On-The-Spot and Technical Committee. Recently, on Thursday, April 7, 2011, the Nemiah People of Grand Kru County restarted the aggression.
• They burned down the farm houses of (Torbo W. Russell and Nma Wleh Russell). Besides, they abducted a brother of Torbo W. Russell. The abducted brother was tortured and drugged and is currently in Harper undergoing medical treatment
• The Klebo People, in search of the abducted men, retaliated by burning two (2) farm houses belonging to the Nemiah People.
• But unlike Maryland lawmakers and county authority’s complacency, Grand Kru County dispatched a contingent of ERU officers of theLiberia National Police to the scene, arresting five (5) men who were in the house during the evening hours. The men who were arrested were Nma Wleh Russell, Wla Freeman, Alex Hne, Blotey Tye Nubo and Tooe. They were tortured by the ERU personnel and the Nemiah People. Besides, their farm houses were later burned down by the Nemiah People that night.
• Nma Wleh Russell’s eye got damaged as a result of the police brutality and Mr. Hne is still suffering from the pains of the brutality as a result of severe flogging by ERU personnel.
• On Saturday, April 9, 2011, the Superintendent of Maryland County, J. Gbleh-bo Brown, sent Paramount Chief Bodio Geddeh of Klebo Chiefdom and Clan Chief Jacob Bawo Wah of Pleebo/Gbolobo Clan on a facts-finding mission in the area. They (the chiefs) were taken to the scene and they (the chiefs) advised the Gbololu and Gbewien people to compile a report and send it to the Superintendent the next day. En route to Pleebo, the elders and chiefs were arrested by ERU officers and taken to Barclayville, Grand Kru County. The arrested persons were David K. Nyemah [a retired pastor of the United Methodist Church in Gbololu Town], David Pao Nubo [General Town Chief of Gbololu Town], Albert N. Gadeh [Township Commissioner of Gbololu Township], Nma Cummings [Secretary of the Gbololu Township], Thomas H. Nyemah [Speaker of Pleebo/Sodoken District], David B. Russell, Alphonso B. Nyemah, Jr. and Wlo Russell.
• Only seven (7) of the eight (8) persons taken were released Tuesday, April 12, 2011, and as expected, they spoke of police brutality.
• It does not make any sense that authorities of Grand Kru County sent police officers to arrest people of Maryland County in Maryland County and take them to Grand Kru County. I do not think this is the right way governments should operate. Why authorities of Maryland County did not do this since 2007?
• The Klebo people strongly reject remarks by Police Spokeman George Bardu that the ERU arrested only three (3) persons from Maryland County and six (6) persons from Grand Kru County. This information from Mr. Bardu is false and misleading. We want to openly challenge Mr. Bardu to give the names of the nine (9) persons he spoke about, where these people were arrested and what were they doing when they were arrested by the ERU officers. As Monbiot of The Guardian puts it, “Justice is impossible if we cannot trust police forces to tell the truth”
• Again, the Klebo people of Pleebo/Sodoken District want to express our disappointment to the effect that they fell neglected and do not have people in the county and central governments who care for them, who understand their situation, who can speak on their behalf.
• They are repeatedly asking the government to find an amicable solution which will subsequently lead to lasting peace between parties in the land disputes. But the government has ignored that request. Regrettably, this signals to the People of Pleebo/Sodoken District that their lives are expandable. But if the government continues to play less attention to their situation, they equally have the means to do what the Nemiah People are doing, engaging in aggression and making the area unstable. It is not advisable to ride the willing horse to death.
• I, therefore, call on the county and national governments to release the six (6) men, including General Town Chief David P. Nubo of Gbololu, detained in Barclayville, Grand Kru County by the ruthless ERU personnel of the Liberia National Police immediately without any precondition. I do not want for the people of the District to compare the police brutality to those of the late Samuel Kanyon Doe or Charles Ghankay Taylor’s regime where citizens were incarcerated at will by government officials and their operatives.
Long live Pleebo/Sodoken District, Long live Maryland County!!!!
George H. Nubo
PROMINENT SON, PLEEBO/SODOKEN DISTRICT, MARYLAND COUNTY