Dec 21, 2010, 12:10 PM
The Nigerian High Commission in The Gambia yesterday donated foodstuffs and medical items to the Gambia Prison Service at its headquarters at Mile 2 in Banjul.
The donated items included10 bags of rice, six bags of sugar, medical drugs, two cartons of Ceylon tea, two cartons of milk, five gallons of oil, Nigerian newspapers and some tissue papers.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Esther John Audu, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to The Gambia, commended President Yayah Jammeh for providing an environment conducive for officers and the prisoners.
She seized the opportunity to thank Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Jonathan for re-appointing her to The Gambia.
Ambassador Audu says their presence in The Gambia is not only for their people but also for other nationals. “We bring these items so that everybody can benefit from what we bring for our people,” she said.
“It is always important to us Nigeria High Commission to visit and see our prisoners,” she said, adding that they are always interested in visiting their nationals at the prison because some of them are in prison by error while some by deliberate erroneous actions.
She noted that most of the convicts were “those caught on transit that didn’t even know The Gambia”.
“Nigerians living in The Gambia are law-abiding,” she said, adding that some are however found involved “in minor problems”.
Nigerians are in The Gambia to assist and complement the effort of the government, she says, appreciating the prison service for the way and manner they have been handling prisoners.
“Since I came to The Gambia I have never had of any Nigerian die in prison,” said High Commissioner Audu.
She however appealed to the authorities to inform the high commission if Nigerian prison inmates are causing or having any problem; so they can intervene quickly.
High Commissioner Audu assured the Prison authorities of the high commission’s continued support.
Speaking earlier, Yaya P. Jarjue, Deputy Director General of Prison, said the day marks another milestone in the bilateral relationship between The Gambia and Nigeria.
“These wonderful gestures which the Nigerian High Commission has been rendering to the prison department, especially the medical items, will go a long way in boosting our morale,” Jarjue said.
He reminded the gathering that the Government of Nigeria, since 1992 has been helping the prison department in the training of its staff, noting that in 1992, ten officials were trained in Nigeria whilst four in 2010 and currently five officers are undergoing training in the West African state.
According to Jarjue, in 2011 twenty-five prison officers from Nigeria visited The Gambia on a fact finding mission.
“This donation will go a long way in helping the prisons department,” he said, calling on other high commissions and nationals to emulate the Nigerian high commission to also cater for their citizens.
Sarjo Ceesay, a state registered nurse, also expressed delight for the support given to them by the donors.
At the end of the presentation the delegation also took a conducted tour of the medical labs at the prisons.