“My dad is made of tougher stuff than that. He will not quit. That is not the man who sired me. He is very determined to see a free and democratic Gambia where we can all contribute, irrespective of our political affiliation and not get jailed, tortured or killed for it. And he will fight for that to the very end,” Femi’s son Olufemi Peters told Radio Holland in 2010 after his father’s conviction and sentencing for using a microphone in public.
The untimely death of Femi Peters has revived fears that former President Yahya Jammeh’s fatal poison is at work. The Gambia’s High Commissioner to Sierra Leone was not the first to die after being released from jail.
Mr. Peters’ death followed those of Ebrima Solo Sandeng, Solo Krumang, Lang Marong and Ebrima Janko Ceesay who were all victims of the Jammeh regime’s callousness. It wasn’t clear whether Peters was poisoned but the brutality meted out on him during the April 16th 2016 peaceful protest led by Lawyer Ousainaou Darboe was enough to kill him. A man of his age does not deserve even harsh words moreso manhandling by a state machinery sustained by the taxpayer. The police intervention unit officers who bundled, beat and threw Mr. Peters in the car must be burying their head in shame. These officers should be bold enough to publicly confess to their crimes. Well, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission will provide the platform for people to come clean on what they in the open and dark. The Commission should first give culprits the opportunity to make themselves available if they don’t want to be fished out.
Uncle Peters loved the Gambia from the heart. From day one in August 1996, Peters’ single biggest goal was to secure freedom for his oppressed people. It was a cause he believed in and even prepared to die for. Nothing would stop him — not even the agents of Jammeh’s killer machine would deter him from following through his Why. For him, his life was worthless when his people were silenced by the whip, torture and death. Uncle Peters knew he would not reap the benefits of a free Gambia. Just seeing a free Gambia filled his heart with happiness. He kept saying that “the fight for a free Gambia is not about we the greyed hair old men but the younger generation.”
Mr. Peters will forever be remembered for being a Sacrificial Lamb for his country. His death has sent shocking waves among Gambians who adored and appreciated his tireless services to the Gambia and her people. Femi Peters’ death should force us to ask whether all those 2006 political detainees get the medical attention they deserve. We want the government to provide these people with proper medical attention so that where necessary treatment is sought. We must not fold our heroes dying in turn.
May the gentle and kind soul of Uncle Femi Peters rest in Eternal Peace.