THE UNJUSTIFIABLE EXCLUSION OF LIBERIA’S CHILDREN BORN IN THE DIASPORA FROM THE LAND OF THEIR FOREFATHERS
The International institute in the State of Rhode Island, USA, reported years ago, that there are about 15,000 Liberians within Rhode Island and its environs. Let’s assume that half of this number, each decided to have a child, collectively they will have 7,500 children. There are hundreds of Liberians in New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, DC Metropolitan areas, and other parts of the United States. These numbers don’t include those born in Europe and other parts of the world (All Africa.Com, 21July2010).
The All Africa.Com., an internet on line news medium, reported on July 21, 2010, that many years after the Liberian civil war, over 250,000 children born by Nigerian soldiers who were part of the Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peace keeping force in Liberia are still roaming the streets of Liberia, wallowing in poverty and searching for their fathers.” If the population of Liberia is estimated to be 4,000,000; this number of children is over 6 percent of the nation overall population (6.25%). These children if come of age will demand for the citizenship of both Liberia and Nigeria. They are both Nigerians and Liberians. This was also confirmed by the Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa, DTCA Dr. Sule Yakubu, who said that over 250,000 children were born to Nigerian soldiers who participated in peace keeping in ECOMOG operations in Liberia (vanguardngr.com/2010/07/).
The question that needs to be answered by the detractors of dual citizenship: Will it be fair to deny any of the children born of Liberian parentage from enjoying Liberian citizenship because they have dual citizenship?
As society becomes more global and integrated, the value of Dual Citizenship and a second passport is increasingly becoming a necessity. The comforts of being an American Citizen, at the same time maintaining one's original nationality, provides an individual with an abundance of benefits and set of liberties. Economically, Liberia stands to benefit. Dual citizenship provides access to financial investment rights (property, securities, retirement, social security benefits, etc.). American citizenship provides access to adequate medical benefits, including potentially free healthcare, especially for those reaching the age of retirement. Accesses to educational benefits, including potentially free higher education are all possibilities within the reach of Liberians who enjoyed dual citizenships. And most importantly, provides opportunity for children of Liberian parentage to travel freely and reconnect with their cultural background and strengthen the fabric of their African heritage.
It has been reported that former US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton, has recognized the power and potential of Diasporas and made it central to her approach to “21st Century Statecraft”. She made it part of her Global Partnership Initiative which she placed at the heart of the State Department and the US diplomatic missions around the world, during her tenure.
Madame Secretary identified eight priority areas that required new partnerships, especially for developing countries.
Global economic recovery and growth
Food and water security
Engaging Diaspora communities
Outreach to Muslim communities
Increasing energy security
Democracy and human rights