The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with its counterparts from Education and Justice has rescued and turned over 58 students to local authority in Nimba County.
The students, predominantly children, were brought to Monrovia on Monday, March 28, 2022, from D. Baryon Memorial Institute in Gracie Township, Tappita District #1, Nimba County, for what the institution termed an excursion tour.
The Ministry of Gender received a tip-off via its 116 Toll-Free number, alerting them of a deplorable condition the students were experiencing while on their excursion tour.
Gender task force rapidly engaged the camp where the students were situated and conducted an investigation based on the tip-off.
Upon inspection of the students’ residential facility, it was established that the students were poorly fed and sleeping in an inhospitable structure that is mosquito prone and in an unacceptable serried space.
In a well-coordinated and supportive approach, the three ministries quickly evacuated the students and returned them on Sunday, April 3, 2022, to their respective parents/guardians and authority of Nimba.
Speaking during the turning over ceremony held at the Bain-Garr Education District #1 Office in Peace Community, Ganta City, Nimba County, Assistant Minister for Children and Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, Maminah Carr-Gaye, appreciated the whistleblower, line ministries, the Nimba Legislative Caucus and the entire leadership of the county for the prompt responses in rescuing and returning the students to their families.
“The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection headed by Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr looks forward to a detailed investigation and applicable actions of all those found liable for exposing our children to such despicable and unfortunate hazardous experience”, Assistant Minister Carr-Gaye said.
She noted that it would serve as a deterrent if people are held accountable for their actions or inactions.
Ganta City Mayor, Amos N.G. Suah expressed appreciation to the line ministries for expeditiously and successfully returning the students. Mayor Suah said he was deeply distressed when news of the students reached him and promises to remain fully engaged with the Justice Ministry in ensuring that justice is served.
The County Education Officer (CEO) of Nimba, Moses S. Dologbay said they were relieved not just for the parents of the students but for the entire County and Liberia at large.
Meanwhile, CEO Dologbay announced a temporary suspension of all academic activities at the D. Baryon Memorial Institute and asked parents to transfer their children to the Varmie Memorial Public School in Tappita free of charge until further notice.
The Chief Superintendent of the Liberia National Police, Dixon Nimely Jlateh, and the Deputy Chief for the Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the Police were present at the turnover ceremony.
Superintendent Jlateh confirmed the detention of the Principal of the D. Baryon Memorial Institute Amos Cooper, along with three of the school’s instructors: Melvin Sonkaly, Archie Grupee Saady, and James Gaye Grupee, at the Ganta Police Detachment Office.
According to him, the detainees are undergoing investigation at the Women and Children Protection Section in Ganta for allegedly endangering the welfare of the children, which he said breaches 16.4 of the revised Liberia Children Act of 2011.