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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Supreme Court okays Gambia National Guards’ police duties

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By Bruce Asemota

The Supreme Court of the Gambia presided over by Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow and four other justices, have declared that the Gambia National Guards’ performance of police duties does not contravene constitutional regulations.

The Supreme Court decision came in a judgment delivered recently in a suit filed by one Dr. Ousman Gajigo against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

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Dr. Gajigo wanted the Supreme Court to order the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to advise the Government to cease the deployment of The Gambia Armed Forces (National Guards) at checkpoints and exercising police duties and functions during peace times.

Dr. Gajigo also wanted the Supreme Court to make a declaration that the said regulations are inconsistent and in direct conflict with the letter and spirit of Sections 187 and 188 of the Constitution.

Dr. Gajigo proffered arguments in support of the contention and recounted an incident on the 1st May 2019 at Kalagi military checkpoint and noted that the actions of the soldier threatened him and amounted to a serious violation of his constitutional rights.

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The Supreme Court in its judgment declared that the operational use of the Armed Forces in the Gambia is consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court also declared that Dr. Gajigo did not show the inconsistency or conflict of the said regulations with the letter and spirit of Sections 187 and 188 of the Constitution to warrant the said court to make an order or a declaration for the government to cease deployment of the members of the Gambia Armed Forces at checkpoints.

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