Jun 10, 2010, 2:01 PM
Gambia Immigration Department Director General Pa Baboucarr Mboob has reiterated the cordial ties between The Gambia and Sierra Leone, saying both countries have had strong bond and relations since the colonial era.
DG Mboob made this remark on Wednesday when the new executive of the All People’s Congress (APC) party Gambia branch visited the Immigration Department in Banjul as part of their courtesy calls on various institutions in the country.
“Sierra Leoneans and Gambians are one and the same; so you are welcome to The Gambia, as long as you are a peace-loving citizen,” the Immigration DG responded after listening to the APC delegation’s remarks.
“Our cordial relations have been since the colonial time. We have also been sharing governors during the colonial era and have many things in common,” he said.
“In The Gambia we believe in freedom, justice and democracy; if you don’t cause any problem you will be here for the whole of your life you will not have any problems.”
On the other hand, DG Mboob said: “Just as the Sierra Leoneans are here in The Gambia we have equally Gambians in Sierra Leone. If you go to places like Kono, for instance, there are many Gambians there. Some of them left The Gambia when they were very small; that is why even during the war [in Sierra Leone] the Government of The Gambia did everything to bring them back home just to at least avoid them being injured but they insisted they would stay in Sierra Leone and they are still there; so that shows that Sierra Leoneans and Gambians are one and the same. So you are welcome to The Gambia.”
DG Mboob, who said he had got to know more about Sierra Leoneans when he was a Commissioner in Basse, especially during the civil war in Sierra Leone and the influx of Sierra Leonean refugees into The Gambia, also commended President Yahya Jammeh for his love and care for non-Gambians and respect for ECOWAS protocols.
The immigration DG also emphasised the value of peace and security, saying this will not be compromised in The Gambia.
“In The Gambia there is peace and stability. This is here to stay, because all the security services here put together will make sure that this is maintained and it will never be compromised, so that every peace-loving human being could come and stay in The Gambia peacefully.”
“So I urge you all to continue to be law-abiding, and you would have no problems living in The Gambia. The Gambia is a very peaceful country, and we are blessed with a very good Head of State who is a Pan-Africanist; he is always up for peace and stability for all.”
Concluding his response, DG Mboob advised Sierra Leoneans, and by extension, non-Gambians residing in the country, to be responsible enough to always regularize their status each year.
In his remarks on the occasion, APC Chairman Ibrahim Koroma, who briefed the immigration boss of the existence of the APC branch in The Gambia, thanked the Immigration Department and the Gambia government for their care and good treatment to Sierra Leoneans in The Gambia over the years.
“We will always be law-abiding people in The Gambia,” he assured.
APC branch National Advisory Council Chairman Foday Kargbo also recounted the support and assistance Sierra Leoneans have received from the Gambian people and government, “especially during the difficult time of the civil war” in their country.
Alie Serry Kamal, APC secretary general, who moderated the meeting, applauded the developments registered in The Gambia over the years by President Yahya Jammeh.
He also highlighted the rapid developments Sierra Leone has witnessed under President Ernest Bai Koroma seven years in office.
“Gambia is our second home; we are grateful to The Gambia and the Gambian people,” Mr Serry said.
In his closing remarks, Edward Sesay, a member of the APC branch, described Presidents Yahya Jammeh and Ernest Koroma as “working presidents”.
Commissioner Assan Joof and Cadet Inspector Jawara Cham of the GID attended the meeting.