The Governor of Central River Region Sulayman Barry urged the implementers of the European Union funded Access to Justice Project to be institutionalized as a sustainability measure in the rural regions to enable people to seek for legal advices.
He was addressing the opening of the project held at Mamud Fana, Niamina East in the CRR South on 15th May, 2017.
Earlier, Jannet Sallah Njie, the Legal Expert of Access to Justice Project thanked the European Union for funding the 3 year project that is being implemented since 2015. She said the project was started in Brikama, West Coast Region, Kwinella, Lower River Region, Kuraw, in Upper River Region and recently Kinteh Kunda in North Bank Region.
She said the project contains vital components such as legal and civic education, rights and responsibilities of citizens as well as democracy.
“We are here as community with Cadi who will inform you how to solve your problems particularly inheritance, marriage conflicts and others in accordance with the Islamic religious principles. This will help you to understand that, right people are within your communities who can solve your certain problems without taking everything to court,” she said.
She indicated that the project implementation is led by the National Council for Civic Education with partners such as National Agency for Legal Aid, Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat and the Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia. She said there is a drama component that will better explain to people how to solve problems through ADR means.
Yusupha Bojang, Programme Officer at the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) in the new dispensation of the Gambia, people need to understand the concept of democracy and the rights and limitation. He said the project is will address that problem while urging all to be attentive and participatory.
For his part, Sulayman Barry, the Governor of CRR expressed excitement towards Access to Justice Project in his region. He said it is important for people to provide with the means and knowledge of how one can access justice. He said people in the rural communities have a lot of issues but they do not have legal tools to be able to address their problems. According to him, it is very crucial to bringing down justice to the level of the communities.
“I hope this project is going to be institutionalized so that it wouldn’t be just for the project but to sustain it. I started this discussion with the project implementers when they paid a courtesy call to my office.
One of the suggestions I made was to put up structures at the regional levels by probably opening a desk office where you have somebody with a legal background to be able to give advice when needed to the people around here. It can be worked out to be free of cost,” Governor Barry concluded.
Kebba Touray, Chief of Niamina East said, Access to Justice Project is an opportunity for people of his district. According to him, the project sensitizes people on how best they can live and interact harmoniously. He too urged for sustainability of the project.
Yankuba Marena, Chairman of Jangjangbureh Area Council hailed the implementers of the project as well as the European Union that funded the project. He said the project came at a time when it is needed in the Gambia to enlighten people on matters regarding the legal issues. He said the project will benefit people to know the actual concept of democracy, civic rights and responsibilities.
“If each one knows his or rights, responsibilities and limitations, people will live in harmony all over the country,” he said.
Kebba Jobe, Civic Educationist at NCCE did a presentation on protection of fundamental rights of citizens as per the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia.