Vice-President Fatoumata Tambajang of The Gambia has said that The Gambia would collapse if Nigerian professionals in the country withdraw their services or leave the country.
Tambajang made the remark at a dinner organised for the Nigerian delegation to the 62nd commission on the status of women (CSW) at the Nigeria House, New York.
The vice-president, who was represented by Mamadou Tangara, the ambassador/permanent representative of The Gambia to the UN, commended Nigeria for its numerous support to her country.
“Gambia is very grateful to Nigeria for its support. If Nigeria withdraws its support, Gambia will collapse,” she said.
“In particular, if the Nigerian professionals in the judiciary withdraw, Gambia’s judiciary will collapse.
With a population of about 30,000, Nigeria has the largest number of foreign nationals living in The Gambia.
Similarly, six of Gambia’s 12 banks are owned by Nigerians.
Emmanuel Ayoola, a Nigerian, was the chief justice of The Gambia from 1983 to 1992 while Emmanuel Fagbenle was the chief justice of the country from 2015 to 2017.
Before then, both had earlier served as justices of the court of appeal of The Gambia.
The majority of the senior professional staff in the ministry of justice, on the other hand, are Nigerian lawyers provided through technical assistance programme.
In 2017, The Gambia Bar Association had to protest against the newly appointed Nigerian high court judges – Edward Ogar, Mathias Agboola, Simeon Abi and Martins Okoi.
Nigerian professionals, including teachers and doctors, are in the Gambia under the technical aids corps scheme, launched by the Nigerian government to assist other African countries, as a practical demonstration of South-South cooperation.