By Omar Bah
The Ecomig-Nigerian Company 8 troops yesterday cleaned the Turntable Garage, provided free medical assistance to Gambians, and donated tents and sanitary materials to vendors. The troops also filled some of the potholes in the garage and provided shade for the garage. The assistance followed an assessment done by the troops on the needs and challenges faced at the garage.
The commander of the Nigerian troops, Lieutenant Colonel Moreino Joseph Bent, said the exercise is meant to complement Ecomig’s efforts in building a strong mutual relationship with the Gambian people. He said previous Nigerian troops have also reached out to other communities around the West Coast Region.
“We decided to choose Turntable this time because it touches the lives of many people. We also believe that conducting a medical exercise here will give many people the opportunity to have easy access to free medical support,” he said.
He said the troops also want people to understand that soldiers are not all about security.
“We know Gambia is a safe country, and I am sure some people wonder why we are here. We are not here for security reasons alone but to show support to our brothers and sisters by creating opportunities for people who find it difficult to reach hospitals, among others,” he said.
He said that as part of the exercise, they also take advantage of the opportunity to inform people about their mandate.
The Ecomig spokesperson, Major Asola-Fadola, said the exercise demonstrates that Ecomig’s operation in The Gambia is not only focusing on peacekeeping but also humanitarian reasons. “It goes a long way to project the image of the Ecomig mission, and it doesn’t matter whether it is the Nigerian, Ghanain or Senegalese contingents because all of them are operating under Ecomig,” he said. Major Asola urged Gambians to see the forces as their brothers and sisters who are not just here to provide security but humanitarian support.
The head of accidents and cleansing unit at the Gambia Transport Union (GTU), Abdou Willian, said the union welcomed the generosity of the Ecomig troops and urged Gambians to embrace them.
He said the Turntable Garage is a very strategic garage and covers a lot of destinations, including Lamin, Airport Junction, and Brikama.
“So, cleansing the place and providing medical support to the people coming to the garage is very crucial and welcoming. We want to extend our overwhelming gratitude to the Ecomig troops,” he said.
The chief de garage at Turntable, Pap Mbye, expressed gratitude to the Nigerian troops for the support and assured them of their continued support and collaboration. All the beneficiaries who spoke to journalists during the exercise commended the Ecomig troops for the benevolent gesture.