By Rohey Jadama
Mrs. Fanta Bai Secka, Director of Social Welfare, has said that she
does not have permission to talk to the press concerning the detention
of Yusupha Lowe, a 13 year old boy, who has been detained for 57 days
now without access to his family.
Yusupha Lowe is the son of Baboucar ‘Bai’ Lowe, a former Warrant
Officer Class 1 of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), who is alleged to be
involved in the 30 December attack on state house and said to have
Yusupha is reported to have been picked up around 3pm from their family
home in Lamin on the 1 January 2015 by agents who claimed to have been
acting on orders from the Office of the President.
When this reporter visited the Social Welfare Department on Wednesday,
25 February, 2015 to enquire from the Director about their position on
the issue, the reporter accordingly complied when told by the Personal
Secretary to write to the Director regarding the purpose of mission as
she (Mrs. Secka) was going to a meeting.
In a follow up yesterday, the Director said she had seen the letter
but that she did not have permission to talk to the press.
Also visiting the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) office earlier for
the same purpose i.e. their position on the incommunicado detention of
a child, Mr. Njundu Drammeh, the Director, said they have expertise in
sexual abuses but not in juvenile justice.
Section 66 of the Children’s Act states that “It is the duty of the
1. (a) Safeguard, protect and promote the welfare of children”
It also states that the Department of Social Welfare is responsible
for the “Welfare of Children”.
Children are human beings with rights. Section 5 of the Children’s Act
states that “in addition to the rights guaranteed under Chapter 4 of
the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, every child” has
additional rights. According to section 10 “no child shall be subjected
to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family
life, home correspondence or attacks on his or her honour or
The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article
4 (Protection of Rights): “Governments have a responsibility to take
all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected,
protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they
agree to review their laws relating to children. This involves
assessing their social services, legal, health and educational
Article 37 (Detention and Punishment): “No one is allowed to punish
children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should
not be treated cruelly. They should not be put in prison with adults,
should be able to keep in contact with their families, and should not
be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of