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Senate Clarifies Amendment To Petroleum Law
…Enters Dual Citizenship Debate

By Alex Yomah
The Liberian Senate has dispelled what it termed as a misinformation scheme perpetrated by some former employees and managers of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) locally and in the diaspora regarding amendment made to the Petroleum Law.
At the opening of the special session of the 54th Legislature yesterday at the Liberian Senate, Pro-temp Albert Chie, explained that one of the five principal amendments to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law approved on October 9, 2019 are not in the interest of the Liberian people.
He said some former employees of NOCAL who are bent on misguiding the public are masquerading the thoughts that Article 36 states that citizens’ participation in revenue from Petroleum Agreement is not in the public interest.
He termed the allegation as false and misleading, noting “From our records, all the five provisions in the amendment approved by the Liberian Senate are very progressive and the added provision in Article 36 gives more benefits to Liberians.”
“I urge the committee on Judiciary which is reviewing the provisions in the amendment at the request of two of our colleagues to expeditiously come out with a report so the matter can be laid to rest permanently,” Senator Chie added.
Meanwhile, Senate Pro-temp Chie has clarified the dual citizenship debate which sparked up recently emanating from the letter of the Minister of Justice to the Minister of Foreign Affairs seeking due notice in the implementation of the revised regulations to govern the administration and insurance of Liberians’ passports.
He said Justice Minister Musa Dean referenced the opinion of the Supreme Court of Liberia sitting in its October 2019 term, against the automatic forfeiture of one’s Liberian citizenship without due process in the case: Alvin Teage Jalloh petitioner vs Olubanke King Akerele et al.
“For the records, let me state that majority of the senators, including myself, supported the concept of “Once a Liberian, you will always be a Liberian” which is in support of Article 27[a] of the 1986 Constitution. However, we are also of the opinion that the permanent way to lay the issue of dual citizenship to rest is through a national Referendum that will amend Article 28 of the Constitution,” he noted.
Fortunately, Senator expressed, “This provision did not pass in the December 2020’s referendum. This provision of the Constitution is regarded as prohibition against dual citizenship,”
However, he said going forward, the Liberian Senate will propose amendments to the 1973 aliens and nationality law, especially to clarify the procedures for the loss of citizenship in line with the due process principle.
“Whatever amendments to the above law may be proposed, it is clear that a national Referendum to amend Article 28 of the Constitution is the answer to the dual citizenship issue,” Chie pointed out.

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