At least three Nigerian judges will now have to leave The Gambia after judicial service authorities in the West African country declined to renew their contracts.
Judges, Martins U. Okoi, Edward E. Ogar and Simeon A. Abi were contracted to serve in the Gambia’s judiciary by ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of using foreign judges as mercenaries.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow served a little over a year. Since assuming power, he has a policy of “Gambianizing” the country’s judiciary. He has appointed an unprecedented number of Gambian judges.
The three judges were the crux of legal tension between the country’s union of attorneys that dragged the Judicial Service Commission and the Attorney General to court over the constitutionality of judges’ appointments.
Judicial sources said the judges have no qualms about the decision of Gambian authorities. They have handed over their respective position and due to return to Nigeria.
Nigerian judges have been providing technical assistance to The Gambia but under Jammeh, they have been accused of being used as political puppets to jail Jammeh’s political opponents, journalists and activists.