By Mamadou Dem
Both town Taxi and Van drivers (Commercial Vehicles) were on Tuesday 22nd August 2017, arraigned before Principal Magistrate Hillary U Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, charged with a single count of Common nuisance, contrary to the laws of the Gambia 2009.
The accused persons are Muhammed Nyang, Lamin Kujabi, Omar Sarjo, Alagie Jawara, Amadou Barry, Bubacarr Barry, Amadou Jallow, Mustapha Sarr, Ousman Jallow, Modou Lamin Jarju amongst others.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused persons on the 21st of August 2017 at Tipper Garage and diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality, were found obstructing traffic and causing inconvenience to the public and thereby committed an offence. However, all accused persons pleaded not guilty as charged and were consequently released on bail in the sum of D50, 000.00 with a Gambian surety each. The surety shall swear to an affidavit of means and shall deposit a National Identity document to the registrar of the court.
Prior to the admission of bail to the accused persons, Lawyer Sheriff Kumba Jobe attempted to apply for bail on behalf of all of them but police prosecutor Sub-Inspector Alpha Badjie informed the court that they were not opposing the bail of the accused persons.
It would be recalled that government through the Ministry of Transports, Works and Infrastructure, declared a reduction in fuel prices triggering the reduction of transport fares by the same ministry. This did not go down well with some of the drivers which prompted them to embark on a sit down strike last Monday. It was reported that some of them went further to threaten to smash vehicles plying the road on the day of the strike.
On the day of the strike, riot police were seen on patrol along the Westfield Tabokoto Highway and eventually arrested some drivers.
The court was congested and security was tied with the presence of riot police who escorted them to court. During the course of the proceedings, one of the accused persons believed to be an asthmatic, coughed while in the dock but was eventually taken outside the court room to allow him take in fresh air. The case was adjourned to the 29th of August for hearing.