George Weah Inaugurates New National Carrier For Liberia

File photo of Liberian president, George Weah                                                 Credit: SEYLLOU / AFP

 

Liberian President George Weah on Friday inaugurated a new national carrier for the West African country, named Lone Star Air, about 30 years after the country’s previous airline went bust. 

Speaking at a ceremony at Liberia’s international airport, near the capital Monrovia, Weah said the new airline would “connect our country to our region and to the world”.

“It is my dream, my hope and my ambition that we will very soon see Lone Star Air, the wings of Liberia, flying our flag in international skies, shining so brightly,” said the footballer-turned-president.

Liberia’s flag bears resemblance to the flag of the United States, but features one star instead of 50.

The country was founded in the 19th century with US support as a home for freed American slaves, whose descendants have a long history of dominating political life.

Liberia currently has no active national carrier, with the country’s former airline folding in the early 1990s, according to a statement from Lone Star Air.

It is unclear when the new airline will begin flights, and neither Weah’s office nor the ministry of transport was immediately available for comment.

However, the airline initially plans to operate flights between Monrovia and regional hubs such as Abidjan in Ivory Coast or Nigeria’s Lagos.

A poor nation of some 4.8 million people, Liberia is still recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003 and West Africa’s 2014-16 Ebola crisis.

AFP

Liberia Declares Rape A National Emergency

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 25, 2017 shows former football player and candidate in Liberia’s presidential elections, George Weah posing during a photo session in Paris.
Weah was sworn in as Liberia’s new president on January 22, 2018, in the country’s first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944. / AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

 

Liberian President George Weah has declared rape a national emergency and has ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases in the poor West African state.

The moves comes after thousands of Liberians protested rising incidents of rape in the capital Monrovia last month, in a bid to draw attention to the country’s alarming rate of sexual assault.

Late on Friday, Weah said he would install a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, as well as set up a national sex offender registry, a statement from his office said.

The government will also establish a so-called “national security task force” on sexual- and gender-based violence.

The high rates of rape in impoverished Liberia, forced to contend both with war and the Ebola virus in recent years, has been a longstanding concern.

A UN report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases the previous year in the country of 4.5 million, and found that only two percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction, for example.

It was the resulting sense of impunity and the legacy of the 14-year civil war between 1989 and 2003, when rape was commonplace, that had created the current problem, it said.

Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply this year, however.

Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, told AFP last month that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, for example.

That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said.

Weah’s announcement of a national rape emergency follows a conference in the capital Monrovia on tackling sexual violence on Wednesday.

Addressing the meeting, the footballer-turned-president said Liberia was “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”

Weah’s office said in the statement on Friday that further anti-rape measures will be announced.

 

AFP

AfDB: Adesina’s Re-election Signifies Africa’s Confidence In His Leadership – George Weah

Liberian President, George Weah, speaks during the virtual swearing-in ceremony of Akinwumi Adesina as AfDB President in Cote DÍvore on September 1, 2020.

 

President George Weah of Liberia has congratulated Dr Akinwumi Adesina on his re-election as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a second five-year term.

Speaking virtually during Adesina’s swearing-in ceremony, Weah said that his re-election shows the level of confidence the continent and its leaders have in him and Liberia looks forward to partnering with his leadership.

Describing Adesina’s re-election as historic, the Liberian leader said the AfDB President was able to distinguish himself within the past five years.

“Liberia looks forward to the continuous leadership under your leadership. Dr Adesina my good friend, your re-election signifies Africa and the world’s confidence in your leadership.

“God bless you in your endeavours. All the best, my brother, and congratulations,” the Liberian President said.

READ ALSO: AfDB Will Support Africa With Quality Infrastructure In Healthcare, Manufacturing – Adesina

Adesina made history by becoming the first President of the financial institution to be re-elected for a second term of five years.

Upon assuming office in 2015, he brought several reforms aimed at empowering Africans and Africa on a global sphere with his election taking place electronically for the very first time.

Prior to his re-election on August 27, Adesina was mired in controversy after he was charged with alleged ethical violations.

However, after repeated investigations, the former Nigerian Agriculture Minister was cleared of all charges levelled against him, paving the way for his re-election.

He is the first Nigerian to hold the post of the bank’s President.

The AfDB, founded in 1964, is geared towards spurring “sustainable economic development and social progress” among member African countries.

Nigeria is the AfDB’s largest shareholder with 16.8 percent of rights, while Germany and the United States own 7.4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Coronavirus: Obasanjo, George Weah, Other African Leaders Feature In New Song On African Solidarity

 

Top African leaders including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, incumbent Liberian President George Weah, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga have been featured in a new song titled ‘Alone but Altogether.’

The song, which starred Ugandan music star Bobi Wine and South African legend Robin Auld, encourages Africans to unite as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

It also starred Amuta Stone, Schalk Joubert, Lumanyano Unity Mzi, and Greg Mills.

“Different times are here; searching for the answer; don’t be a victim; be a solution; we have to persevere; all alone altogether.

“In our homes, for each other; I know we’ll find a way; in Africa,” they sang.

Ex-African leaders in the video include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, Pierre Buyoga, Kgalema Motlanthe, and FW de Klerk.

Others include Ernest Bai Koroma, Hailemariam Desalegn, Moeketesi Majoro, Salous Chilima among others.

The song was produced by SABI Strategy Group.

 

 

Liberia Confirms First Case Of Coronavirus

 

Liberia announced its first case of the novel coronavirus on Monday, becoming the 27th African country to confirm the illness.

The patient is the head of Liberia’s environmental agency and had recently returned from Switzerland, the information ministry said in a statement.

“The country has registered its first case of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19,” it said.

“The government urges everyone to remain calm. Health officials continue to search for all those who came in contact with the infected person in order to place them in quarantine,” it added.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Ghana Closes Schools, Bans Gatherings

Liberian President George Weah will address the country on Monday “to announce important new measures that the government will put in place to prevent transmission” of coronavirus, the statement added.

AFP

George Weah’s Critic Released In Sierra Leone

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 19, 2019 Liberian radio show host and opposition leader Henry Costa (C) gestures to supporters after landing in Monrovia.  Zoom DOSSO / AFP

 

Sierra Leone said it had released a leading opponent of Liberian President George Weah after he had been briefly detained at Liberia’s request.

Opposition figure Henry Costa left Sierra Leone for the United States, where he usually resides, an immigration official in Sierra Leone and Liberian media said.

Sierra Leone authorities had stopped him from leaving the country on Tuesday, local media reported, in an affair allegedly related to problems with his travel documents.

READ ALSO: George Weah’s Critic Arrested In Sierra Leone

Costa, chairman of a youth activist group called the Council of Patriots (COP), is a fierce critic of footballer-turned-politician Weah and often attacks him on his popular radio show.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 19, 2019 Liberian radio show host and opposition leader Henry Costa (C) gestures to supporters after landing in Monrovia. / AFP

Sierra Leone Information Minister Abdurahman Swarray told local radio on Thursday that Costa had been detained and released.

“There was a call from our counterparts in Liberia to investigate him and we did the due diligence,” Swarray said.

Costa had returned to his native Liberia from the United States last month ahead of an anti-Weah protest which took place on January 6.

He was prevented from boarding a flight in Liberia last week for allegedly possessing forged travel documents, media in Liberia said earlier.

He was supposed to present himself to Liberian authorities on Wednesday but instead turned up in Freetown, capital of neighbouring Sierra Leone, where he was detained at the airport.

COP co-chair Mo Alie confirmed that Costa had been released and was on his way to the United States.

Liberia’s government did not comment on Costa’s detention on Wednesday, and it was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

The president is under growing pressure to revive the West African country’s economy, which is struggling after back-to-back civil wars and the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis.

AFP

George Weah’s Critic Arrested In Sierra Leone

Liberian President George Weah

 

A leading opponent of Liberian President George Weah on Wednesday said he had been detained in neighbouring Sierra Leone, amid allegations of passport irregularities. 

Few details of the case have emerged but local media have reported that Monrovia requested opposition figure Henry Costa be  extradited over problems with his travel documents.

Costa, chairman of youth activist group the Council of Patriots (COP), posted on Facebook on Wednesday that he was in the hands of Sierra Leone authorities.

“Don’t worry. I will be okay. The Sierra Leone authorities are being very professional and nice to me,” Costa said.

Local media said he was stopped from boarding a plane in Liberia on Friday for allegedly possessing forged travel documents.

Costa was meant to present himself to Liberian authorities on Wednesday, but was detained at the airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, media reported.

Liberia’s government was not immediately available for comment.

A Sierra Leone immigration official confirmed to AFP that Costa was in the country but did not comment further.

Costa is a fierce critic of footballer-turned-politician Weah and often attacks him on his popular radio show.

The president is under growing pressure to revive the West African country’s economy, which is struggling after back-to-back civil wars and the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis.

Normally resident in the United states, Costa returned to Liberia last month ahead of an anti-Weah protest which took place on January 6.

AFP

I’ll Do Everything Possible To Ensure A Stable Liberia, Buhari Vows

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to do everything possible to bring stability to the Republic of Liberia.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, President Buhari, while receiving Ms Mawine Diggs, Special Envoy of President George Weah and Liberia’s Acting Foreign Affairs Minister in the State House, said that ensuring stability is a key part of his vision for peace, stability and prosperity in the West African sub-region.

READ ALSO: Buhari Launches Revised National Security Strategy

President Buhari commended the Liberian leader for making efforts to maintain good relations with Nigeria.

“I will continue to do everything possible to ensure the stability of Liberia.”

The Special Envoy said Nigeria’s support and assistance over time had “impacted positively” on Liberia and its people, adding that she brought a special message from President Weah to President Buhari following a recent conversation between both leaders.

President Buhari promised to respond positively and promptly to the written message.

Liberia Shuts Radio Station For Criticising George Weah

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 25, 2017 shows former football player and candidate in Liberia’s presidential elections, George Weah posing during a photo session in Paris.
AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

 

Liberian police on Thursday closed a radio station critical of President George Weah, accusing it of inciting violence, and used tear gas to disperse people protesting against the move.

Roots FM, owned by Henry Costa, is one of the leaders of a group that organised a large anti-government street protest on June 17, paralysing several areas of the seaside capital Monrovia.

Costa is a fierce critic of Weah, a former international football star who became president of the country in January last year.

Heavily armed police riot units ringed the radio station building on Thursday morning, making it impossible for workers to move in and out.

They also fired tear gas on the station’s supporters gathered outside.

Costa, who is in the United States from where he usually produces a show for his radio station in Liberia, was defiant.

“It is indeed a very sad day, but I can assure you that we will never be silenced,” Costa told AFP in a telephone interview.

Liberia’s solicitor general said the station was  blackmailing people and instigating violence.

“They have begun criminal acts of extortion and blackmail. They use their media to spread inflammatory messages against Liberian citizens, and engage in incitement.

“Beginning today there will be no public demonstration that is not … sanctioned by the government of Liberia,” Cyrinus Cephus told a press conference.

The Press Union of Liberia last week denounced Roots FM and Freedom FM, another radio that is owned by a government official, for “always insulting people on radio.

“That is not journalism. You cannot ask people to give you money or you talk bad about them. That is destroying the image of good journalism in Liberia. I call on the government to take action against Roots FM and Freedom FM,” its president  Charles Coffey said.

AFP

PHOTOS: George Weah Visits Buhari At Presidential Villa

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has received in audience President Of Liberia, George Weah at the State House in Abuja.

George Weah’s visit comes a day after Nigeria celebrated her Democracy Day on a new date (June 12).

Recall that Mr. Weah’s first Presidential visit to Nigeria was in March 2018.

Weah who was sworn in as Liberias new president on January 22, 2018,was in Nigeria to strengthen the ties between both countries.

It is believed that his revisit to Nigeria is to further deepen the trade ties between Nigeria and Liberia, as well as discuss other pertinent issues as they affect West African States.

George Weah, Drogba, Others To Attend Ambode’s Testimonial Match

George Weah,                                                                 Akinwunmi Ambode

 

 

African football legends such as Liberian President, George Weah, Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure will on Saturday, May 18, 2019, be in Lagos State to attend a testimonial match in honour of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

In a statement on Thursday, the Chairman of the State Sports Commission, Kweku Tandoh, said that the event tagged ‘Match for Ambode’, is being organised to honour the outgoing governor for his laudable contribution to sports development since he assumed office in 2015.

He said the organisers, a group of ex-internationals led by Waidi Akanni have promised to put up a memorable event to ensure that the guests have a taste of good hospitality of the government and people of the state.

Tandoh added that the testimonial match would be spiced up with music from A-list artistes including Wizkid, Small Doctor amongst many others.

READ ALSO: Christian Chukwu Arrives In UK For Treatment

He also assured that adequate security before, during and after the event which starts by 10 am on Saturday have been firmed up.

Among the stars that have confirmed their participation for the one day event include The President of Liberian and former World Footballer award winner, George Weah, Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, Ivorian Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure also from Cote d’Ivoire, Diomansy Kamara, Peterside Idah, Geremi Njitap, Michael Essien, Lomana Lua-Lua, Samuel Eto, Didier Zokora, Kader Keita, Richard Kingston, Christian Karembu, El- Hadji Diouf.

Others include Peter Rufai, Finidi George, Mutiu Adepoju, Samson Siasia, Augustine Eguavoen, Joseph Yobo, Ike Shorunmu, Kanu Nwankwo, Austin Jay- Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amunike, Phillip Shuaibu (Deputy Governor, Edo State), Taribo West, Victor Ezeji, Tijani Babangida, Emma Okocha, Ifeanyi Udeze, Uche Okechukwu and Garba Lawal.

The event is slated to hold on Saturday, May 18, at the Agege Stadium.

Snakes Chase Liberian President Weah From His Office

An official says Weah’s office must be fumigated to chase out the reptiles, which showed up near the ground-floor elevator on Wednesday.

 

Liberian President George Weah has been barred from his office for five days by two black snakes that slithered into the building this week, authorities said Friday.

The foreign ministry where Weah, a former striker with the Paris Saint-German and AC Milan football clubs, has his office must be fumigated to chase out the reptiles, which showed up near the ground-floor elevator on Wednesday.

A ministry statement said that all operations including the issuance of passports and visas were suspended until April 24 owing to the presence of toxic fumes.

“Indeed, the fumigation exercise was triggered by the presence of the snakes,” presidential spokesman Smith Tobay told AFP.

The sole African to win the top Ballon D’Or award, in 1995, Weah became Liberian president in January 2018, succeeding Ellen Johnson, the continent’s first woman head of state.

The impoverished country suffered from a 1989-2003 civil war, and a deadly Ebola epidemic from 2014-2016.

AFP