Gambia: Nigerian-born ‘mercenary judges’ face boycott

Gambia: Nigerian-born ‘mercenary judges’ face boycott

At least four judges, accused of being ‘mercenaries’ for former President Yahya Jammeh are facing a boycott from the Gambian bar.

Gambian lawyers say the appointment of the Nigerian-born judges: Justice Edward Ogar, Justice Martias Olusegun Agboola, Justice Simeon Abi and Justice Martins U. Okoi was not in compliance with the Gambian constitution.

Senior members of the bar are engaging the Judicial Service Commission and the Attorney General, Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou “to continue the necessary dialogue and consultation for the development of the protection of the administration of justice system.”

Nigerian judges were often handpicked by Mr. Jammeh to preside over political cases. Foreign judges were taking direct orders from Jammeh and giving harsh sentences to his perceived enemies.

A former minister, Amadou Janneh was sentenced to life in prison for printing anti-government t-shirts and a former Chief Justice, Pakistani-born Nawal Chohan was forced to resigned after overturning the wrongful conviction of a military chief.

Gambia’s judiciary is said to be the least independent. Jammeh failure to have a Supreme Court for nearly two years became an obstacle for his election petition after he lost the polls.

He openely begged Nigerian and West African authorities to expedite the travel of judges to the Gambia. The mostly Nigerian judges that were to preside over the case rejected Jammeh’s offer to sit in teh Supreme Court.

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