By Yaya Dampha
Senior members of the ruling APRC party in the Lower River Region of the Gambia are embroiled in a legal tussle, after a local business man decided to seek legal redress for unfair treatment.
Former LRR Governor Momodou Soma Jobe, present chief of Jarra West, Yahya Jarjusey, and two members of the divisive National Intelligence Agency (NIA) – Demba Sowe and Ebrima Manneh, have been dragged to court by Kasim Fadera, a businessman based in Jarra Soma, the main town in the region.
Fadera is among six canteen owners who in 2008 reportedly got themselves evicted from their canteens, allegedly on the orders of Momodou Soma Jobe, who is also said to have given permission for the properties to be demolished and the lands on which the canteens stood sold to one Hamedou Jah, a businessman reportedly from Mali.
Fadera is suing the defendants for both unlawful demolition of his property and unlawful arrest and detention. He alleges that he has been the subject of many unlawful arrests within the last 15 years of the APRC government by both the Green Boys (a group of mainly school dropouts with exclusive allegiance to President Yahya Jammeh) and the NIA.
Apparently, this time around the alleged oppressor decided to take the bull by the horn.
‘‘Enough is enough,’’ he told Jollof News. ‘‘My rights have been violated for many times and this must be the last time.’’
The case, another litmus test for the government, given the involvement of the NIA, is expected to be heard at the High Court in Banjul, next Monday, February 22, 2010.
In the account of the plaintiff, in April 2008, the defendants – X Governor Momodou Soma Jobe; Chief Yahya Jarjusey of Jarra West; the Chief Executive Officer of Mansakonko Area Council, Babadinding Jorbateh, unlawfully ordered the demolition of his canteen located in the heart of the town of Jarra Soma.
According to Fadera, the then Governor Jobe, Chief Jarjusey and CEO Jorbateh told them that the impending beneficiary of the land, Mr. Jah, was going to build a supermarket there. He argues now that while Jah has failed to build any thing on the land, their eviction in the first place violated the Area Council Act.
Fadera is also scolding the two agents of the NIA – Demba Sowe and Ebrima Manneh for unlawfully arresting and detaining him for seven days. He said the two NIA officers, in May 2008, arrested and detained him between Mansakonko and Soma police stations for two days, before transferring him to the NIA headquarters in Banjul, where he was detained for another five days. And all this while, Fadera alleges, he was never told the reason for his arrest and subsequent detention. He claimed that when he requested to be told the reason for his arrest, one of the officers, Detective Manneh, told him that he was been arrested on an executive order.
By Yaya Dampha