President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has made good on her promise to bring in Nigeria soldiers into Liberia; Liberians woke up to a glaring awakening when they saw Nigerian soldiers roaming the country whom they say came into the country unceremoniously and are on their soil, coming by way of the cover of darkness with no known status of forces agreement, mission and purpose, under what command are they answerable to, or how are the troops funded.
President Sirleaf has brought about 10,000 Nigerian troops into the country for the elections and given a direct “shoot -to- Kill” orders if any crisis erupts as the result of the October 11th elections, a high profile of the Sirleaf administration told this outlet on anonymity but the terms and agreement of their presence is not known nor does their duration, she emphasized.
The Nigerian Vanguard troops were seen unloading their military hardware at Liberia’s port, the Freeport of Monrovia under high security watch.
The Liberian President disclosed her plans to bring in Nigerian soldiers into the country on September 5, 2011 when she addressed some female vendor political action committee rally, a group supporting the President’s bid for second term. President Sirleaf told the rally that she would bring in Nigerian soldiers into the country, saying, “your know how the Nigerian people can deal with your, I will bring in Nigerian soldiers for this election”. The President’s quotation was in reference and appreciation to how brutal Nigerian troops serving in the West African Peace keeping mission (ECOMOG) in Liberia during the country’s 14 year civil war treated Liberians. The President immediately left for Nigeria after her remarks.
With the coming into the country of the Nigerian troops, Liberia will have three different Military groupings, the UNIMAL United Nations military group, the new Arm Forces of Liberia (Liberia’s military), and the 10,000 strong Nigeria Vanguard troops; all under different command. How will these different military troops under different commands coordinate their military operations is the elephant in the room many Liberians are scratching their heads about.
Information from within the nerve of the Sirleaf’s administration and the Ministry of National Defense under the leadership of Brownie J. Samukai confided into this outlet that the cost of the Nigerian military troops operation will be underwritten by the Nigerian government in exchange for oil exploration and mining mount Wutuvi in Lofa County.
Liberians interviewed say they are furious about the presence of the Nigerian troops on their soil and disgusted about the manner in which President Sirleaf, under the cover of darkness brought in the Nigerian troops into the country without any compelling reason, especially when the UNIMAL mission in charge of security and protection of the country didn’t see any security threat and pending crisis surrounding the October elections which could warrant UNIMAL to request for increase in their troop strength from the United Nations to confront a pending election crisis. How did President Sirleaf and her government arrive at establishing a pending election crisis when her government is not in charge of security and protection of the country to conclude there is a compelling danger and election crisis which necessitate a foreign troops presence in the country in disregard and unappreciative to the UNIMAL mission that has kept and maintained the peace and security of the country for the past eight years, is mind burgling, an electorate told this outlet.
Other voter interviewed told this outlet that they see no reason why President Sirleaf could bring foreign soldiers in Liberia, just because Liberians are going to the polls to elect their president for the next six years when people are only going about the normal dialectics of campaign politics but unfortunately could be construed by the President as a compelling and pending election crisis in the next week elections to warrant bringing a foreign troops on our soil. It is believed that President Sirleaf brought the Nigerian troops in the country to instill fear and intimidation in the psychic of the Liberian voters to coerce them into voting for her, a Liberian interviewed told this outlet. Another voter said that “Liberians will make Ellen shame on election day because there will be no crisis because it was demonstrated during the referendum, it was peaceful and the outcome is now history despite the same fear and crisis mongering that was argued by the government and its supporters.”.
But supporters of President Sirleaf say the Nigerian troops presence in the country is necessary and it does not matter if the President, a sovereign President can bring in the Nigerian troops even if UNIMAL did not advise the President of any pending compelling danger and election crisis, asserting the President can make that determination without UNIMAL’s advice.