Freedom, it is said, has always demanded sweat and blood. It has never been free and it’s never given, but taken. Since time immemorial and all over the world, it has always taken the selfless sacrifice of conscientious men and women to attain and keep freedom. These men and women always put country first and go all out in total disregard for their own safety.
Here in The Gambia, like in all other places, there has never been a dearth of such men and women. People of conscience have always stood up to tyranny and put their very lives on the line in order to secure freedom and prosperity for wider society. The likes of Solo Sandeng of blessed memory paid the ultimate price for us to secure the freedom we are enjoying today.
Since the defenestration of the former dictator, Yahya Jammeh, victims of his regime have been passing away largely due to the residue of the trauma from the torture they endured at the hands of his agents. In the latest such case is the demise of one Nogoi Njie, supporter of the United Democratic Party (UDP) who passed away two nights ago at the Westfield Clinic where she had been admitted for a few days.
Nogoi Njie was among those brave citizens who went out on 14 April 2016. Like some of her companions, Nogoi was arrested and imprisoned where she was allegedly tortured severely. Since her release, she has battled health complications which likely resulted from the inhumane treatment meted out to her while incarcerated.
Nogoi or any other of her companions did not deserve the treatment they received from security agents. They were citizens who wanted to see a better Gambia for the future generations. They did not break any laws and were not criminals. They did what was supposed to be done by all Gambians and thus they carried our burden and ended up paying the ultimate price.
The death of Nogoi brings into sharp focus the slow pace of the reparations and other recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC). It has become quite clear that if these recommendations are not expedited, then the purpose may be defeated with many of them passing away one after the other.
It is in order to pay tribute to Nogoi Njie and all the other fallen heroes and heroines who gave their all to see The Gambia free from tyranny. It behooves each and every Gambian to acknowledge and appreciate the great efforts of these patriotic citizens.
Rest well, Nogoi!