LIS On Citizens Reform Process

MONROVIA-The Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) in collaboration with Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice is stepping up the reform process on obtaining Liberian citizenship.

Speaking Tuesday, March 29, on behalf of all ECOWAS Ambassadors, Guinea Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Abdoulaye Dore disclosed that immigration in Africa is complicated as most neighboring countries have interrelated citizens and as a result, he said, to identify the difference between those bearing similar names is challenging.

According to Amb. Dore, laws are different in various ECOWAS Countries, as such citizens traveling to them must abide should be under direct obligations to abide by those laws.

According to him, the awareness component in such exercise is prudent enough, adding that procedures on naturalization should be explained to those seeking citizenship in ECOWAS states.

At the same time, he wants the government to make the fees leading to the process of naturalization and residency permit affordable for all, including low-income earners.

“If you make the process exorbitant, people will not be able to pay, because we want people to get their original papers,” Amb. Dore emphasized.

Also, Deputy Justice Minister Nyante Twan informed the gathering that the world is changing and Liberia must also change to suit current day’s realities.

“The need for changes in the immigration law is important”, he maintained.

Cllr. Twan further noted that the Liberia Immigration Forum will at the same time inform migrants about the laws governing their stay in any given ECOWAS country in order to avoid them being misled by others .

Also making a presentation at the forum, Liberia Immigration Commissioner General, Robert Budy said Liberia’s naturalization process had long been an issue that continues to create an argument, for which according to him, the LIS and Criminal Court “B” see it necessary and imperative to inform the public on the process leading to obtaining citizenship.

“Lawful and genuine obtaining of Liberian Citizenship begins with the LIS and with all valid documents acceptable to travel through Liberia’s borders,” Commissioner Budy narrated.

According to him, obtaining a Liberian Naturalization Certificate through fraudulent means is punishable under the Laws of Liberia, as such, he wants those seeking citizenship to follow the rightful process.

Budy further clarified that the increase in fees charge to obtain Liberian Citizenship was discussed and agreed upon by relevant stakeholders.

Currently, according to Commissioner Budy, there are LIS Officers assigned at the Liberia Identification Registry, Birth Certificate Division and Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the right things are done.

Meanwhile, Criminal Court “B” Judge, Ceaineh Clinton-Johnson states that there are several aliens across the country carrying a citizenship certificate that is not issued by the court.

She pointed out that people in such category are not citizens of Liberia, because they have not yet complied with the laws of the Country.

“There are unscrupulous people who are issuing certificates to people who do not know how to follow the process and they are walking around saying, they are Liberian Citizens when they are not,” Judge Clinton Johnson told the gathering.

Explaining further she noted that these people will always face challenges to get their passports because they will have to come back to the court and pass through the legitimate channel.

Judge Clinton-Johnson then encourages aliens to always pass through the rightful means or else they will be denied if they have conflicting information.


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