-With Immediate Effect; Told To Respect The Three-yr. Moratorium Suspension; As MIA, NACCEL Warned
By: Jonathan O. Grigsby, Snr. Contributor
Authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the National Council of Chiefs of Liberia (NACCEL) say their attentions have been drawn to continuous illegal practices of Poro and Sande schools in the country.
The Ministry and the Council in a release issued in Monrovia on Thursday, October 20, said the ongoing practices by Poro and Sande practitioners and traditional Chiefs are in the violation of the National Policy Document signed by chiefs nearly one year now.
The release quotes the two entities as urging all chiefs of the eleven counties who signed the document on three years suspension of Poro and Sande activities to respect the document.
“We are also pleased to inform you that the National Policy Document signed by all chiefs from the eleven (11) counties on the three years’ suspension of Sande activities is in effect and it should be respected by all”, the statement emphasized.
The moratorium, the two entities disclosed was signed on February 4, 2022 that suspends all activities on either of the traditional practices.
At the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) are mandating the closure of all traditional schools immediately to allow Liberians to be part of the national census exercise.
MIA and NACCEL: “Therefore, we are mandating you to close and graduate all traditional schools with immediate effect in order to allow our citizens to be covered by the National Population and Housing Census Exercise which is scheduled to begin on October 24. 2022”.
The National Population and Housing Census exercise is expected to commence on Monday, October 24 across Liberia and is said to run for three weeks.
History on the Suspension Poro and Sande Activities
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders climaxed a two-day multi-stakeholders reflective sessions on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia.
The national conference was part of events marking the commemoration of this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
In December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146, calling upon member nations to globally observe February 6th, every year as International Day of Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation.
The act which is a violation of human rights and the health and well-being of women and girls involves the alteration of the female genital area for non-for-profit reasons.
Globally, this year’s FGM is being commemorated under the Theme: “Accelerating Investment To End FGM” while the local theme is: “A Sober Reflection on FGM: Leading to Protection and a Sustainable Future.”
During a two-day national conference with traditional leaders in the City of Gbarnga, Bong County, the traditional leaders affirmed their signatures to upholding a policy document to temporarily suspend all Sande society practices and activities in the Republic of Liberia with immediate effect for the period of three (3) years. This was in February this year.
Backgrounds of Census Conducted in Liberia
The first national census was conducted in Liberia in 1962 and it disclosed a population of 1.1 million; while the second, which was carried out in 1974, revealed a population of 1.5 million.
Liberia has conducted four censuses in 1962, 1974, 1984 and 2008 which revealed a constantly growing population of 1.1 million, 1.5 million, 2.1 million and 3.5 million inhabitants, respectively.
Since the last population Census in 2008, Liberia has not had another Census.
The current population of Liberia is 5,330,129 as of Wednesday, October 19, 2022, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.