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    HELD ON 13TH AND 14TH APRIL, 2018

    This report outlines the implementation and outcomes of Sanniquellie Unity, Peace and Reconciliation conference. This conference was successfully held on the 13th and 14th April, 2018 in Sanniquellie City, Nimba. The main subject discussed within those two days was "Unity, Reconciliation and Peace building ". Local officials, citizens, and civil society activists, as well as eminent citizens comprising all tribes in Nimba, supported the initiative and joined the conference with enthusiasm. As is done in every conference of such, all speakers exchanged ideas and opinions, covering different aspects of the topic discussed : culture, governing, and religion tolerance and the role of state actors beside the main topic of this event. Their contributions kept the participants engaged and triggered questions and active participation from the audience, thus fulfilling the very purpose of the conference, to provide a platform that brings people closer together from diverse backgrounds to create a mutual understanding.

    UNICCO -LIBERIA recent conference on "Peace, Unity and Reconciliation " held in Sanniquellie was attended by over 300 participants from the length and breadth of Nimba and outside of Nimba as well. Paramount importance of participants were the five tribes of Nimba : Mahn, Dan, Krahn,Gbi and Mandingo. The conference started with a parade through the principal street of Sanniquellie and ended with indoor program.

    The conference commenced with prayer followed by a beautiful song "the more we are together, the more we shall be, your friend is my friend and my friend your friend ", which was subsequently followed by welcome remark from the city mayor of Sanniquellie, Madam Moima Kamara. In her remark, she welcomed the participants of the gathering and ensured her commitment in the successful conduct of conference and security of participants for their stay in the city. She also lauded UNICCO -LIBERIA for such a wonderful initiative to bring the people of Nimba together.

    In continuation of the conference, the executive director of UNICCO -LIBERIA; Mr. Anthony Z. Weegon presented the main purpose of the gathering. He said that his organization has called the participants to this conference to always make unity and peace their popular language as the so-called division loom over Nimba. In his statement, he said UNICCO -LIBERIA is galvanizing the county caucus leadership to make concrete and defining decisions on Nimba's unity and development. According to him, the organization came up with the title :"unity, peace and reconciliation conference " on the backdrop of the recent concerned of some citizens about the division of Nimba, which in his view, he termed this quest as being selfish and greedy and not being in the interest of the masses of Nimba. He further stressed that "the conference will build a watershed of collective consensus for national peace, unity and reconciliation". Mr. Weegon closed his argument that "Nimba has come of the stage where she can lead the development pace of Liberia and this can only happen in a system where there is total peace, unity and reconciliation.

    In furtherance, Mr. Vabaka Kromah who served as spoke person for the Mandingo ethnic group cataloged several trending issues that have been impeding the peace and unity in the County in his view. Mr. Kromah singled out the alleged seizures of their land and other properties by the Mahn and Dan ethnic groups. He maintained that there will be no genuine peace, unity and reconciliation if certain people are continued to be marginalized by others.

    In addition, Mr. John Glayway spoke on behalf of the people of Gbi and Doru. In his remarks, he said that the people of Gbi have been marginalized and hardships is being afflicted on them, and he blamed the county administration of not prioritizing Gbi in her development agenda. Against this backdrop, the people Gbi and Doru are in support of the so-called division. According to him, there is no high school, health facilities, roads and safe drinking water amongst other things; even though they are subject of Nimba and paying taxes to government. He said the people of Gbi and Doru are frustrated over this unwanted situation being inflicted on them and there is an urgent need to tackle some of those issues expediently if there could be genuine peace and unity.

    Madam Estella Wehyee who spoke on behalf of Nimba women, called on the county leadership to build trust, expand negotiations, encourage community development, boost the social spirit of those who live in the most deprived areas of the county (Nimba). And this will build up peace and internal stability. Key is, she said, being just and treat equal all ethnic groups of Nimba, so tensions will be smoothened and people will be empowered.

    Elder James T. Moore said "holding such conferences who aim to raise consciousness of the people which he said was very useful and have a very positive impact. According him, conferences of such bring together traditional elders, county officials, women and youth to exchange their comments that can be used by us all. And he classified the conference as a very positive step taken by UNICCO -LIBERIA towards what we all love: peace ".

    There were several speakers that spoke on the need for the people Nimba building genuine peace, unity and reconciliation in Nimba. They said if this is done, Nimba will progress and compared to non in Liberia.

    Our challenges

    1. Mobilization
    We had several difficulties in reaching out to participants and convincing them wasn't easy.
    2. Finance
    Of course, finance will always be the major challenge of such event, especially when our organization just being young and has no independent source of resources. However, we are grateful to God first and our brothers who reside in United States of America; Reverend Dr. Saye T. Beipa and Mr. Amos Goah tremendously contributed resources and guidance in the successful conduct of the conference.
    3. The Mandingo ethnic group
    Were definite with the position by presenting a petition to UNICCO -Liberia with regards to their the land and other properties issues. Something we see as one of our major challenges as a institutions.
    4. Distraction
    Definitely there will be detractors in such endeavors, we had several people distracting our focus by misinterpreting the aim and objectives of the conference.

    Way forward

    1. That leadership of Nimba take the lead in conducting conferences of peace and unity across the length and breadth of Nimba to create awareness on the important of living in peace and unity.

    2. The county leadership should direct more focus on those deprived districts or communities in Nimba so as to improve the livelihood of people in those areas.
    3. The national government especially the executive branch that has the appointing power of county leadership, should see reason to factor the five ethnic groups or tribes in the County administration.
    4. The national government and county leadership should create employment opportunities for young people.
    5. Nimba Legislative Caucus should advocate for more districts.

    In conclusion, the unity, peace and reconciliation conference was very successful and timely. The conference ended with joyful hugging from participants to each other and followed by a dinner served to participants. We would like to thank all the guests, participants and contributors to this blessed gathering and pray that Almighty God rewards all abundantly.

    Prepared by : Charles Teage Wonkeryor
    Secretary, UNICCO -Liberia

    Approved by: Anthony Z. Weegon
    Executive Director, UNICCO -Liberia

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