Gambia: Jammeh trying to use Nigerian lawyers to remain in office- Gambian Lawyers

Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh. Photo credit: Africanews

The Gambia Bar Association has warned that President Yahya Jammeh, who first accepted his loss of the just concluded presidential election in the country only to reject the result, is plotting to use Nigerian lawyers to perpetuate himself in office after losing the presidential election last week.

The Gambian judiciary led by Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, a Nigerian national, in a statement, said they have “absolutely no confidence” in Fagbenle, citing many instances of his close investment in the Jammeh Presidency.

The group affirms that he is at the helm of Jammeh’s plan to undermine the will of the Gambian people.

“There is a total breakdown of the rule of law, and the Chief Justice has been known to carry executive directives in matters of the state interest.”

“There is a total breakdown of the rule of law, and the Chief Justice has been known to carry executive directives in matters of the state interest,” the Gambian Bar said.

It added that it wished to bring the issue to the attention of the Nigerian government.

The lawyers noted that there has been no session of the Supreme Court in the Gambia for almost two years, in contravention of the law.
It said that the only Judge appointed to sit on the Supreme Court is Chief Justice Fagbenle, and that whenever there is an intention to constitute a Supreme Court, he and the Attorney General would handpick qualified lawyers or judges from commonwealth countries who would visit the Gambia for a two-week duration and are appointed by the President for that purpose to dispose of cases.

The group insisted that Fagbenle is “clearly unfit” for the constitutional role of Chief Justice and will certainly take steps to attempt to extend the illegal regime of Jammeh, the group pointed out that there are also seven judges of the high court, all appointed in 2016, and all handpicked from Nigeria.

They named the judges as Justice Agboola, Justice A.N.C. Ikoro, Justice Uduma, Justice E.E. Ogar, Justice E.O. Dada, Justice Sulaiman, and Justice E.O. Otaba.

Meanwhile President Mohammadu Buhari will today travel to Gambia to meet with and persuade President Yahya Jammeh to hand power over to Adama Barrow, the president-elect.

According to the BBC, Buhari will be joined by other West Africa leaders, in a bid to end the political crisis brewing in the West African country.

Jammeh lost the just concluded election in the country and conceded the elections to Barrow, a real-estate mogul who has never held a political office.

The December 1 vote saw Barrow win 222,708 votes (43.3percent), while Jammeh polled 208,487 (39.6percent). Jammeh later turned round to reject the election result, saying: “After a thorough investigation, “I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election”.