Liberia’s Defence Minister Prince Charles Johnson III has resigned following protests by wives of the country’s soldiers, who accuse him of low wages and poor living conditions in the military barracks.

The women set up roadblocks near the capital, Monrovia and elsewhere in the country, forcing President Joseph Boakai to cancel National Army Day celebrations on Monday.

They demanded the defence minister’s resignation, blaming him for a reduction in the salaries of Liberian soldiers returning from peace missions in Mali. The officers’ spouses also decried a lack of social security, electricity shortages and corruption within the armed forces.

Mr Johnson, in a statement, says he is stepping down due to the “current political and civil disturbances” occasioned by the protests.

He, however, denied allegations of misusing military funds, adding that his wish was to ensure discipline was instilled in the army.

President Boakai, who was inaugurated in January, through his office said the women’s grievances would be investigated and addressed.

And Nurses and midwives in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, have gone on strike against new rules for verifying their qualifications to foreign nursing boards.

The regulations are meant to curb the exodus of health workers from Nigeria.

Nurses will now be charged verification fees and will have to have practised in Nigeria for at least two years before the authorities will confirm their credentials.

All applications will now take a minimum of six months.

The government wants to curb the exodus of health workers (archive photo)

The nurses have said the government should improve their working conditions instead of curtailing their freedom to practise where they want.

The Nigerian authorities said last year that more than 75,000 nurses and midwives had left the country in five years, leading to a huge shortage at home.


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