Angry Sand Miners Besiege Judges

first_imgAngry employees of Chinese sand mining company, LICHI Inc. last Thursday stormed the Commercial Court – leaving staff and judges to seek refuge in their offices – as security officers prevented them from entering the courtroom.However, no one was physically attacked and no property damaged during the hours-long protest, security officers said.Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan intervened and pleaded for a conference with the group on Tuesday, January 12.The uproar occurred after the court released a bulldozer and two vehicles belonging to LICHI Inc.The court seized the equipment after LICHI failed to honor its ruling of 2015 to the tune of US$76,892, including a 6% statutory interest, in favor of the employees.The items were confiscated after Associate Judge Richard S. Klah held the Chinese company liable after the company failed to settle with the employees.The employees had supplied 4,586 loads of river sand to the company on credit for the cost of US$100,892 – at the rate of US$22 per load – under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).The angry employees and their legal team were expected to receive the money from LICHI’s management last Thursday, but to their surprise when they appeared at the Temple of Justice the bulldozer and the two vehicles were nowhere to be found. They also did not get the expected money from the court.With this development, the employees and their lawyers proceeded to the office of Judge Klah to ascertain why the bulldozer and the vehicles were not at the Temple of Justice.They were informed by Judge Klah that the company’s management, through its legal team, had raised legal issues which needed to be discussed.As a result the employees decided to vent their anger against the judge’s decision. Some of them were heard saying: “they (the judges) have colluded with the company to deny us our money, but that will not happen, even if it were to cause our death.”Others were heard saying, “There is no justice in Liberia… we will ensure that we force our own justice,” while some threatened to go to the office of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor for redress.Though Judge Klah had decided the matter by ex-parte, following the company’s lawyers’ absence from the case despite repeated summons, he went ahead to accept the company’s request asking for proper accountability.An ex-parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present.The case started in 2012 when Atty. Massaquoi filed an Action of Debt by Attachment against Hua Lee and LICHI, contending that both companies were indebted to their employees to the tune of US$100, 892.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Bankers’ Assn. Honors Governor Jones

first_imgThe Liberian Bankers Association (LBA) has honored the outgoing Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, for his unprecedented support to the Liberian economy.The honoring ceremony, which took place last Friday at a local hotel in Monrovia, brought together top executives from nine commercial banks to bid farewell to Governor Jones for 10 years of valuable service to Liberians as well as the banking sector.President of the LBA, Mr. John B.S. Davies, III, who spoke at a farewell reception in honor of the outgoing CBL Governor, said Liberians will forever remain grateful for his many contributions.He said Dr. Jones deserved the honor, because he did extremely well by improving the lives of his people and the banking sector as well.In his reflections and statement of appreciation to Governor Jones, Mr. Davies, who is also president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), described him as an “astute Leader and true son of Liberia.” “I am particularly overwhelmed by the enormous and unprecedented financial and technical support we received from the CBL under the governorship of Dr. Jones,” Mr. Davies noted. Speaking about some of Dr. Jones’ achievements during his tenure, LBA president highlighted that there were only nine commercial banks in Liberia before Dr. Jones, but today under the astute leadership of Dr Jones commercial banks can boast of 11 institutions with growing assets of L$78 billion.“When we look back at the years and the role card, we say thank you Governor Jones because you did well for the banking sector and the people of Liberia,” he said.He also pointed to Governor Jones’s assistance in providing US$5 million to the rubber sector of Liberia, especially when Ebola struck the country’s economy.The LBDI president also admonished the outgoing CBL Governor that in his life sojourn, he should remember them as bankers.Earlier in his welcome statement, Henry Saamoi, executive member of LBA and CEO of International Bank, told the gathering that the Governor will forever be remembered in the banking sector of Liberia.Mr. Saamoi said if the outgoing CBL Governor has more time, he believes the Liberian banking sector will be one of the best in Africa.He praised the outgoing CBL Governor for his many contributions to Liberia.In response, the outgoing CBL Governor said instead of people seeing him leaving the walls of the Central Bank of Liberia, he should be seen as entering the courtyard of Liberia. Dr. Jones said the hope that the Liberians express also reminds him of the hope that he has for Liberia.He also said he believes that Liberia, a country of hope, is on the verge of revival.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Violence against Women and Girls A Serious Obstacle to Sustainable Development

first_imgAt long last, there is growing global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development. Yet there is still much more we can and must do to turn this awareness into meaningful prevention and response.Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies. When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships. Violence against women also results in lost productivity for businesses, and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health-care agencies. Domestic and intimate partner violence remains widespread, compounded by impunity for those crimes. The net result is enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to. Yet such violence persists every day, around the world. And efforts to address this challenge, although rich in political commitment, are chronically under-funded.Since 2008, I have led the UNiTE campaign to End Violence against Women, which calls for global action to increase resources and promote solutions. I call on governments to show their commitment by dramatically increasing national spending in all relevant areas, including in support of women’s movements and civil society organizations. I also encourage world leaders to contribute to UN Women and to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. We look as well to the private sector, philanthropies and concerned citizens to do their part. Today, we are seeing the world lit up in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls. With dedicated investment, we can keep these lights shining, uphold human rights and eliminate violence against women and girls for good.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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‘Do Not Settle for Mediocrity’

first_img“In your performance do not settle for mediocrity, for this world is increasingly becoming competitive. What is modern today may so quickly become obsolete by daybreak tomorrow,” Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai cautioned 518 individuals who graduated from the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) Round 4 over the weekend in Monrovia.VP Boakai told the graduates to consider their learning as a privilege, which they should cherish rather than letting it become out of date by failing to apply the best or average of what they learned over the years.Boakai wants the young graduates to understand that learning has no limitation and therefore, they should not be complacent with what they had acquired to qualify them to graduate.“I know that this step comes from the hard reality that both males and females share similar needs when it comes to preparing themselves to serve their country. This is a positive and welcoming shift in the direction of gender balance that will never remain the same,” Boakai said.He commended the Gender Ministry for what he called its collaboration with service providers such as the National Adult Education of Liberia (NAEAL) and EDUcare-Liberia to implement the project, which has so far witnessed the successful graduation of 970 adolescent girls and 200 adolescent boys from the EPAG program.Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said she was pleased that young girls and boys willingly showed up to learn something for their own benefit.The program was introduced in 2009 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to empower young girls and boys to be able to rely on themselves after receiving skills training that will enable them to successfully contribute to the rebuilding of the country.Of the 518 graduates, 100 were from the Pipeline Community in Paynesville, while the rest of the girls came from Grand Bassa, Margibi, and Montserrado counties.The graduates were awarded certificates in their various disciplines.The EPAG is the Ministry of Gender’s pilot skills training program geared towards enabling girls and young women in particular, as well as a small portion of the male population, to gain access to self-empowerment after acquiring skills training.It is part of the World Bank Global Girls Initiative, which is implemented in Haiti, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Laos, Rwanda, Nepal and Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Draft Whistleblower, Witness Protection Bills Validated

first_imgParticipants at the end of the draft validation yesterdayIntegrity institutions, government agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) yesterday validated the draft Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bills. The bills are expected to be submitted to the National Legislature for enactment into law.The two bills were certified at the end of a one-day validation workshop held at a venue in Sinkor. The bills were drafted by participants at a three-day workshop which took place last month.The validation workshop brought together key state actors drawn from the Ministry of Justice, Governance Commission, Liberia National Bar Association, Law Reform Commission, UNMIL, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, CENTAL, as well as the National Integrity Forum. It was sponsored by UNMIL.The workshop was also attended by LACC’s Executive Chairperson, James N. Verdier; Deputy Justice Minister for Codification, Charles Karmo; UNMIL’s Chief of Human Rights and Protection Section, Marcel Akpovo; the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Autonomous Agencies, Senator Jonathan Kaipay; and Rep. Larry Younquoi, Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Governance, who all admonished participants to work with diligence and commitment in the validation exercise.The LACC said in a release that the workshop grew out of the regional workshop on whistleblower and witness protection in the fight against corruption, which was held in Monrovia last September.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Liberia Wetlands Under Grave Threat

first_imgOne of several wetlands on the Robertsport Highway in Grand Cape Mount County.Often ignored by policymakers and wittingly or unwittingly subjected to abuse by the public at large, wetlands are under grave threat of degradation by Liberians and foreign residents alike.The threat to wetlands is posed mainly by discarded waste, over hunting and fishing as well as the harvesting of wood fuel particularly in coastal mangroves. Such waste, including but not limited to plastic bags, medical waste, human feces and dirty or used fuel, threatens marine species in the various wetlands.Environmentalists and other concerned stakeholders have consistently called for urgent and practical action aimed at protecting wetlands from abuse. But such concerns have often gone unheeded by authorities responsible for environmental conservation and protection.Reports from urban areas with coastal mangroves such as Robertsport, Monrovia, Buchanan, Marshall, say wood harvested from mangroves are highly prized by local people for drying fish.There are also reports of the use of dynamite to kill fish. Even marine turtles and crocodiles are said to be under threat from poaching activities.Several officials of the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the past 12 years have  conducted several professional and technical workshops geared towards enhancing the protection of wetlands in Liberia.  In spite of support from partners and stakeholders, wetlands including mangrove swamps continue to come under pressure from uncontrolled human activity.Some  examples of wetlands and mangrove swamps that are under threat of abuse in the Monrovia area include Peace Island, SKD Boulevard, King Grey and New Hope communities in Monrovia and Paynesville.Legal experts point out that environmental laws and regulations are weak and enforcement mechanisms are not robust to safeguard and protect the Liberian environment especially wetlands, which include the mangrove swamps.Comments and views from Liberians in the affected areas strongly underscore the urgent need for some robust and practical actions on the part of environmental authorities in order to protect the wetlands of Liberia.57-year old former EPA staff Steven B. Sanford called on the EPA senior staff to design new programs and strategies that will enhance the full protection of all the wetlands and mangrove swamps in Liberia.“I would greatly appreciate were the EPA and our support partners to focus on the practical application of environmental laws, regulations and policies that will serve to protect our wetlands and mangrove swamps,” Sanford stressed.Elizabeth Gerald Williams, 48, noted that priority should be placed on the full protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps in LiberiaThe former Monrovia sanitary health inspector described the protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps as critical to the development of Liberia’s ecosystem and its vital biodiversity.She added that there are too many vital and endangered species in the wetlands and mangroves that need all practical protection from the current threat of abuse.“I really want the EPA and our support partners to wake up and work without fear and favor and fully protect our wetlands and mangrove swamps in our country,” she pleaded.55-year old environmental advocate Sam K. Collins of Monrovia called on all support partners connected to the environment of Liberia especially the World Bank and United Nations Environmental Program to double up their engagements with the EPA and other relevant stakeholders.He, however, urged the new Liberian Government to review and formulate concrete short, medium and long range plans that are practical and achievable in the years to come in Liberia.Collins also underscored the urgent need for substantial funding to the EPA, Ministry of Health, research institutions and other relevant agencies that are connected with the vital protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps in Liberia. The Convention on Wetlands, called the RAMSAR Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Liberia is a signatory to the RAMSAR Convention.According to the RAMSAR Convention, “Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival.“Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or ‘ecosystem services’ that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.” The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. This includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and swampscenter_img Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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‘No Space for Indisciplined Players,’ Says Tapha Manneh

first_imgLISCR FC head Coach Tapha Manneh serving as guest on Prime Sports Track (Photo Credit: T Kla Wesley Jr)Having returned from his vacation in the Gambia to prepare for the new season, LISCR head coach Tapha Manneh has told his players that he does not have space for indiscipline players ahead of the new season.Coach Manneh said no level of skills and brilliance from a player that has no discipline will guarantee his stay in his team. He signaled the warning during the team’s first gathering since they won the ‘double titles.’According to the Gambian, it is based on the output of the players that will determine their stay with the club; therefore it should be teamwork between him and his players for their success.“You can play full 90 minutes very well, but without discipline, you cannot be a part of my team,” Coach Manneh said.“I don’t joke when it comes to my profession. You signed a contract and I signed mine. It is based on your output that will extend or terminate your contract. So, as a player, before you try to get mine terminated, no matter how many seasons you have signed with the club, I will recommend yours to be terminated,” he said.In another development, Coach Manneh has revealed that his tough opponent during last season’s campaign was Keitrace FC. He made the disclosure when he appeared as a guest on the Prime FM weekend sports program ‘Prime Sports Track’.He said out of the top clubs, including FC Fassell, Monrovia Club Breweries, and Barrack Young Controller, his team found it difficult to overcome the Gardnerville outfit. LISCR’s single defeat in last season was against Keitrace (3-2) in the FA Cup semifinal’s first leg unbeaten record on July 28 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.LISCR who will be representing Liberia at next year’s CAF Champions League, have so far signed eight new players, including four Gambians. The team will have a huge task to perform in the upcoming season to defend their double titles and properly represent Liberia at the continental club competition.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Senate Elects Pro Temp, Leadership Members by Resolution

first_imgSenate Pro Tempore Albert Chie delivering his acceptance speech. The Liberian Senate at the first sitting of the First Session of the 54th Legislature yesterday elected Grand Kru County Senator Albert Tugbe Chie President Pro Tempore and the 10 Statutory Committee members through a resolution signed by over 27 Senators.According to the Secretariat of the Senate, the resolution became necessary following an announcement by Lofa County Senator Stephen Zargo late Sunday evening of his withdrawal from the race to keep the Senate united.The motion of the resolution proffered by Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence also called for the elevation and upgrading of the Committees on Public Works and that of Education to leadership status. This followed after the passage of another resolution electing reshuffled members of the eight-member leadership committee.Outgoing Pro Temp Armah Zolu Jallah now chairs the new statutory committee on Public Works, while River Cess Senator Dallas Gueh chairs the Committee on Education.Other statutory committee members include Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, now Rules, Order & Administration; Geraldine Doe-Sherif, Executive (retained); H. Varney Sherman, Judiciary; Peter Sonpon Coleman, retained on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women & Children Affairs; H. Dan Morais, retained on Foreign Affairs; Morris G. Saytumah, Ways, Means & Finance; Thomas Grupee, Defense, Security, Intelligence, and Veterans Affairs; J. Gbleh-Bo Brown, Internal Affairs, Reconciliation & Good Governance.Meanwhile, Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson retained his post on the ECOWAS Parliament, with Senator Stephen Zargo.Earlier, in the presence of the incoming President of the Senate, Vice President-elect Jewel Howard Taylor, the outgoing Senate President, Joseph Boakai, in a moving statement accompanied by standing ovations, bade farewell to the 53rd Senate he chaired for 12 years, and welcomed the 54th.“For me, as President of the Liberian Senate and, I am sure for you as honorable members of the Upper House, it is certainly a positive development that the nation’s new President, Senator George Weah, and Vice President Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, will be none other than colleagues and compatriots who have worked with us in these very chambers for some years now,” VP Boakai reflected.Vice President Boakai recalled warning his colleagues last January that it should “never be a must win or perish situation which would engender unsavory acts aimed at reaping undeserved rewards. Today, we leave it to history to judge whether we have demonstrated the inclination to live by what we preach; what I feel, however, is great pride and fulfillment for the love and loyalty I hold for this country,” VP Boakai said.In his acceptance speech, Pro Temp Chie told the gathering that the Senate’s legislative agenda, in the interim, will include some bills that are being worked on in committee room, such as the Land Rights Act and the Local Government Act, adding: “These two bills are almost in their final stages of processing and will be enacted promptly.”Also on the interim agenda are the new Immigration and Naturalization Act and the new Maritime Law, which will need prompt attention.Pro Temp Chie, who chaired the committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources, said under the 54th Legislature, the Senate will urge the Executive to review most of the concession agreements that have been passed over many years to assess the performance of concessionaires and to accommodate any profound change in circumstances.“We will tackle the provisions of the Constitution that were sent to us for review to begin the process for a national referendum. We will review the arguments for dual citizenship, mineral rights, reduction in the terms for the President, Vice President and members of the Legislature, open citizenship for all despite race, etc.,” Chie assured.The Albert Chie-led Senate promised to introduce new elements for national referendum consideration such as the argument that the President of the Senate should be a Senator and not the Vice President of Liberia.He reminded his colleagues that the 54th Legislature will be a part of the government that is inheriting an economy that is not performing well, with export earnings down due to the adverse global market prices for the country’s major commodities.“The Senate stands prepared to work with the Executive to address the current economic challenges in both the short and medium terms and our actions will include but not limited to the passing of a realistic National Budget to avoid budget shortfalls; revisiting policies to strengthen the economy in sectors such as forestry, taxation, investment incentives; strengthening of institutions assisting in the creation of an enabling environment for the growth of the private sector,” he said.Another area of concern for the 54th Senate, according to Chie, will be Liberia’s debt profile, massive foreign investment, value addition to locally-produced commodities, and electricity/power issues, among others.With respect to the Senate’s housekeeping, Chie promised to continue from where his predecessor stopped: Assessing the human resource capacity of the Senate to make all departments functional; review the rules of the Senate and amend where necessary; augment the strength of the legal department of the Senate; review the welfare of Senate staff and employees; reconciling the administrative function of the Senate Secretariat and the relevant committees of the Senate; building the capacity of employees and staff; improving the security of the Capitol; and enhancing the public relations capacity by the procurement and operation of an FM station and television facility for the legislature.Meanwhile, former Pro Temp Jallah yesterday disclosed that during his stewardship, the Senate acted on 150 bills. In 2015 during the 4th session of the Senate, 16 bills were enacted and two bills amended; during the 5th session in 2016, the Senate ratified 43 bills while 22 were enacted and 15 amended; in 2017 the Senate ratified 12 bills and enacted 24, while 11 were amended.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Labor, Gender, Police to Account for State Witnesses’ Disappearance

first_imgAuthorities at the ministries of Labor and Gender Development and Social Protection, as well as the Liberia National Police (LNP) on yesterday appeared before Criminal Court ‘A” at the Temple of Justice, to give account of two state witnesses, Famatta Kanu and Kiadiatu Kamara, who are at the center of a human trafficking case.Their appearance stemmed from a request from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) prosecutorial arm of the government for a Writ of Subpoena ad Testificadum.Subpoena ad Testificandum is a writ issued by a court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; disobedience may be punishable as a contempt of court.Judge Roosevelt Willie has also mandated the government entities to explain why they should not be held in contempt for their individual roles played in releasing the witnesses without the knowledge of the Ministry of Justice.“Your failure to adhere to this Subpoena ad testificandum, will lead us to hold you in contempt,” Willie’s order said.The court’s mandate continues, “Failure on your part, the court will have no alternative but to take the appropriate legal action against you.”Famatta Kanu and Kiadiatu Kamara are prime witnesses of the government in regard to a case where the state indicted one Hawa Bangura for human trafficking.The case grew out of developments on November 30, 2017, when one Molley Passawe, chairman of Banjor community, outside Monrovia, reported an alleged trafficking in persons involving Famatta Kanu, 37, and her daughter Kiadiatu Kamara, 4, and a Sierra Leonean defendant identified as Hawa Bangura.The court’s record claimed that when the defendant and the victims were residing in Sierra Leone back then, Kiadiatu Kamara was selling for defendant Bangura and that Bangura persuaded Kamara to come to Liberia with her, to buy some goods (not named).When they arrived in Liberia, the record alleged, they did not have anywhere to sleep until after three days when they came across one Mohammed, who is at large. Mohammed is believed to have provided sleeping place for them.While they were at Mohammed’s place, defendant Bangura allegedly introduced one Lahai as her boyfriend, but her usual sleeping out of the place prompted a serious confusion between the two.During a conversation between Lahai and Bangura, Kamara claimed that she heard Bangura telling Lahai that she had sold two of her children, along with Kamara and her daughter.Bangura is reported to have said that she was going to earn enough money to be able to open a shop back home in Sierra Leone, according to Kamara.Seeing the uneasiness, Kamara reportedly claimed that she informed Bangura about her decision to go back to Sierra Leone.Kamara claimed Bangura told her that she had given money to somebody to buy second-hand clothes for them to take back to Sierra Leone, and so they had to wait awhile.Unfortunately, Kamara alleged that Bangura had arranged and negotiated with her boyfriend Lahai to sell Kamara and her daughter to Passawe.After the arrangement with Passawe about the sale of Kamara and her daughter, Lahai, on the orders of Bangura, took Kamara and her daughter to Passawe’s house for the transaction.It was during that time, the court’s record claimed, that Passawe immediately left them in his room and went outside where he managed to call people, who later arrested defendant Kamara.The matter is currently under further investigation while both individuals have been detained pending court trial.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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BWIAA Hosts Home Coming Feb. 23

first_imgBWI Principal Harris Fomba TarnueThe BWI Alumni Association (BWIAA) will on Saturday, February 23, 2019, host this year’s Home Coming Day on the main campus of the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Margibi County.The program, which has already been scheduled under the theme, “Tigers: Returning the Honor,” will commence with a grand parade of the Alumni members and friends of BWI through the principal streets of Kakata to be followed by an indoor program.According to a statement, the indoor program will honor longest serving faculty and staff  for their commitment and services rendered the institution.In a related development, a fund-raising rally will be held during the program, and its aim is to raise US$25,000 for the completion of the BWIAA House project, and provision of cleaning supplies for the school.Lots of activities are expected to form part of the outdoor program, including sports, which will bring the day to a close.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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