Aggrieved families of the Niko Ivanka WAEC staff victims have given a six-day ultimatum to the government of Liberia to conduct a speedy investigation and come up with findings surrounding their missing relatives.
Early Thursday morning, over 50 family members staged a peaceful protest at the national headquarters of the West African Examination Council Liberia Chapter, demanding the outcome of their relatives who were involved in the sinking ship.
It can be recalled weeks ago, that a vessel, Niko Ivanka, departed Monrovia on a Saturday morning for the Central Port City of Buchanan, in southeastern Liberia.
According to reports, the ship had over 18 people on board, including nine workers of the West African Examination Council Liberia Chapter, who were also on duty to administer the national exams in that part of the country.
But according to the Commissioner General of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the vessel was not authorized to carry passengers and that it had earlier been placed “under detention orders” because it was not seaworthy.
The incident led to the nine of the WAEC’s staffers gone missing. One later was rescued alive, six others were found dead but are unidentified and two others are still missing, while others were accounted for.
Addressing reporters during their protest, the aggrieved family members demanded that the national government conduct a speedy investigation no later than August 10, 2021, with findings published showing entities and persons responsible with specific recommended actions regarding the matter.
The group also called for the immediate arrest of the ship owner while investigation is ongoing or being concluded, adding that they do not want a DNA test on bodies that have been identified by families already.
They further requested to take delivery of the bodies of all the staffers involved in the unfortunate incident, whether living or dead.
The aggrieved families are also demanding the immediate recusal or dismissal of the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, Commissioner General of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe and the head of the West African Examination Council Liberia Chapter, Dale Gbotoe respectively and should submit themselves for a speedy and fair investigation.
At the same time, the family members requested national government to put a halt to the WAEC or an immediate stop to what they called a secret recruitment of their loved ones positions at the entity, including the administration of the national exams till after burials.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved family members have threatened to stage another peaceful protest at the WAEC head office in Congo Town with a sit in, including the closure of offices until further notice, failure on the part of national government to address their plights.
They are, however, appealing to President George Weah, the Liberian Legislature, Foreign Embassies near Monrovia, United Nations, the Economic of West African States, Mano River Union, the International Maritime Organization, Carter Center, WAEC International, the Liberia Council of Churches, Civil Societies, Educational Stakeholders, including Humanitarian Organizations to assist them in finding justice for their missing or dead relatives.