The Gambian Bar Association has raised the alarm that President Yahya Jammeh was plotting to use Nigerian lawyers to perpetuate himself in office after losing the presidential election last week.
The association stated that Jammeh, who rejected his loss of the presidential election after initially accepting the outcome, was planning to bring to Gambia judicial officers from Nigeria to thwart the will of the Gambian electorates.
The GBA in a statement published by Sahara reporters on Monday, also said it had no confidence in the Gambian Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, a Nigerian, noting that he would take steps to extend the illegal regime of Jammeh.
The lawyers alleged that Fagbenle was at the forefront of plan to undermine the will of the Gambian people, stating that he was quite close to Jammeh who had ruled The Gambia for 22 years.
“There is a total breakdown of the rule of law and the Chief Justice has been known to carry out executive directives in matters of the state interest,” the Gambian Bar said, adding that it wished to bring the issue to the attention of the Nigerian Government.
The GBA explained that there has been no Session of the Supreme Court of the Gambia for almost two years, in contravention of the law, noting that the only Judge appointed to sit on the Supreme Court is Fagbenle.
The lawyers said, “Whenever there is an intention to constitute a Supreme Court, he (Fagbenle) 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.
“It is clear that Jammeh did not expect to lose the election and did not deem it fit to have a sitting permanent Supreme Court. This has inured to his benefit for the last two years during which several cases have sat unheard by a Supreme Court. Case in point is the appeal by the United Democratic Party against the conviction of its party leaders.”