An Atlanta Georgia mum is fighting a child custody battle at her native tiny impoverished West African nation of The Gambia, Freedom Newspaper can report. Mrs. Nahimah Jawneh, the ex-wife of Sheriff S Phatey, AKA Samsudeen Phatey, has been in The Gambia since October of 2020, battling to have custody of her four-year-old son. She said her ex-mother in-law Mariama Cham Phatey, wouldn’t allegedly allow her to bring her son back to the United States, because she (Nahimah) has been branded as an unfit parent, who would be able to take care of her son, an allegation, she has categorically denied.

According to Mrs. Jawneh, it was back in 2018, when she and her son traveled to The Gambia. On arrival, she said, she decided to entrust her son to her ex-mother in-law Ms. Phatey to help babysit her son.

“What has happened is that, in 2018, I decided to go to The Gambia with my child and living there for two years and come back to the US and settle down. And when I got to The Gambia, I decided that I will leave my son with my ex-mother in-law. Right after I get to the US, we have an issue, me, and my ex-mother in-law. She called me one morning and said she was traveling to the UK with my son. And when I asked for the reason, she said, Alpha is sick, and he has to be cured in the UK with Sohna Phatey. I said my son is not going to the UK, if Alpha is sick or anything is wrong with Alpha, let me know because I can fly to The Gambia, and get him to the US, and he would be cured. He hung the phone. I told her that I do not give her the permission to travel with my child. If you travel with my child in any of these countries, I will call the US embassy and then I will report my child as stolen,” she told Freedom Newspaper.

She claimed that her ex-husband Sam Phatey had consented (agreed) for their child to be taken to the West African nation, The Gambia. The arraignment was for Sam’s mum to help take care of the baby, so that she could come back to the US and continue with her hair braiding  job.

The child has been with his grand mum for two years.

The marriage between Sam and Nahimah later went south. The couple divorced. The marriage lasted for two years.

The former couple met on Facebook, where their relationship had later led to a marital relationship. But that marriage never lasted long. It was marred by fights and alleged abuses, according to Mrs. Jawneh.

She recalled an incident in which her former husband was booked (arrested) by the Georgia police for domestic violence related charges. She said she was allegedly assaulted by her former husband, outside a grocery store in Atlanta. She added that her ex wasn’t happy when she refused to stop when he was talking to her.

They were at the store to shop for groceries for her naming ceremony. She said her ex-husband has no money to contribute on the lunch that she wanted to cook for her coworkers at the Salon.

“When I am talking to you, you listen to me. When he said that I walked away because I know exactly where it is gonna last. So, when I walked away, when I was walking fast, he just walked behind me, and hold my hair and turn me around and slapped me and say do not ever walk at me, if I am talking to you stand right there and listen to me,” she said.

The cops were called, and her ex-husband was arrested, she said. She was not the one who reported the incident. Witnesses phoned the police to report the incident.

She claimed that she has in the past been allegedly assaulted by Sam, but she never calls the police on him. She said her former husband has been arrested for about seven times by the police on different charges. One of the charges had to do with assaulting his former wife, neglecting a care facility where elderly persons were housed.

“He was arrested because he hits the ex-wife too several times, I think they said two occasions, mine was just one time because I have never reported it, this has just been coincident, it was at the street because people reported it, so, I had no control over it, it has happened so many time, no one ever heard about it, the other was that he was working at Kentucky, he was taking care of these elderly person and he left them in the house and went out. When the State Department came to visit the clients, they just met the clients at the house. He was arrested for that,” she said.

Mrs. Jawneh said when she joined her former husband in Atlanta, she found only a box of pizza in the refrigerator, the room wasn’t furnished, and Fatty had no steady income job. She said Sam was hoping to rely on his news website to pay his bills, but the site wasn’t generating much revenue.

She had to work at a hair braiding  Salon to help pay the bills and feed the family. Sam, she said, would stay home writing on his website.

The couple had been evicted on two occasions in Georgia for not paying their rent. They later moved to Kentucky.

“Sam wasn’t paying the rent at first without me knowing. And the other one, we went to this apartment and I was paying the rent and everything, then I said I am not paying rent no more. His mum said okay, you guys can move to my sister, my younger sister in Kentucky and then you guys can stay with her. She will help you guys to settle down. We went to the apartment, they were like you didn’t pay rent this month, you have to get out of the apartment if you guys are ready to pay rent, so, we left that apartment without even giving notice and the apartment was under my name, that second apartment was under my name, that mess up my credit,” she said.

She said Sam allegedly lied to her before she married him. She said she used to speak to Sam via video calls.  Sam, she added, was purportedly working at a motel, and would be speaking to her from work while claiming that he was in his house.

“Something was not right when he called me one night and say that he needed to pay for the deposit of the apartment that he wanna pay. I was like, why do you wanna take an apartment, when you have a house. He said he rented that house, that he was living with Nyima, that is his ex-wife, and he wanna have a whole life again. He said he doesn’t want to bring me to that house. He said his lease was gonna finish this month, so he wanna take another apartment, and that is where he wants me to stay with him. So, I asked him, how much do you need for the deposit, he told me that he needs $2,000 dollars, and he had told me that like he had money deposit in his account, but it is still pending, but once the money is posted on his account, then he will refund back the money, which I have never got back. So, that is when everything started and then we got married and then I moved to Atlanta and when I got there, the only thing that was in that apartment was a mattress and an empty fridge with one box of pizza,” she added.

When Mrs. Jawneh visited The Gambia in October of 2020, she took her son from her former mother in-law. The old woman refused to hand over the child’s United States passport to her. Her ex-in-law filed a court action at the Brikama magistrate court, restraining Ms. Jawneh, from bringing her son to the US.

Her ex-in-law hired lawyer Malick Jallow. Mr. Jallow is the son of Hassan B Jallow. Mr. Jallow is the Chief of The Gambia.

Two different magistrates have sat on her case. Mrs. Jawneh said she has been detained on two occasions while battling to have custody of her son. She was bailed by a relative of her, who works at the judiciary. She said that judicial official had been sued by the opposing counsel for interfering with the case.

Mrs. Jawneh said she has reported her case to the US Embassy Banjul but was told that since the matter was in court, there was nothing much that the post in Banjul could do.

Mrs. Jawneh’s case had attracted the attention of Gambian gender activists both at home and overseas. Some women took to Facebook to call on The Gambian government to allow Mrs. Jawneh to have access to her son’s passport and allow her to return to the US with the baby.

The women activists have been calling for a peaceful march to be held at the US Embassy to vent their anger against the status quo. They have deplored the treatment meted out to the Basse born girl Nahimah Jawneh.

Mprez Jah, a Gambian national living in Maryland, has been in the forefront campaign to mount pressure on The Gambian government for Mrs. Jawneh and her son to be allowed to return to the US.

Mrs. Jah has accused Sam of defrauding her over two thousand five hundred dollars. She said Sam lied to her that he could help one of her relatives with an I-20 College admission into the US. After giving the money to Sam, she said, she never heard from Sam again.

Mrs. Jawneh said she and her son are victims of kidnapping in The Gambia. She said has been denied access to leave The Gambia with her son.

She said Sam is trying to avoid paying child support, hence that is why he is allegedly not allowing her to bring her son to the United States. She vowed that nothing was going to stop her from filing child support   claims against Sam. She alleged that Sam has not been supporting his child.

The interview we had Mrs. Nahimah Jawneh would be aired on Freedom Radio Open Line Friday show. Stay tuned.

The listed phone numbers we had for Sam Phatey weren’t working when we called him on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Ms. Awa Sey, AKA Tukulor Sey, in a Facebook posting said she was able to speak to Sam Phatey. Below is her take on the issue:



A family member told me about this last year and I concluded the child needs to be returned to his mother – and I didn’t hear anything until yesterday when my cousin

Saida Sohna Mamfatou Loppy

did a video about this ongoing saga. I decided to stop watching and reached out to Sam Phatey.

Sam was a colleague in the struggle and our families in Brikama are intertwined in MANY ways. Thus, I felt it prudent to discuss this matter with him. I did let Sam know that I will listen to his side of the story, but was going to investigate this issue and draw my own conclusions. I was up until midnight yesterday and by the time I was done, MY MATERNAL INSTINCT got the best of me and I broke down sobbing. Neneh carried this boy for nine months just like I did with my boys. Child birth is like being between life and death. Thus, anyone wanting to take the child will see that mom kicking and screaming. THAT DOESN’T make the mother “unstable.” MOTHERS get HYSTERICAL when threats of losing their children surface!!!

What’s sad about this issue is that even though Neneh and Sam weren’t on good terms, she had a wonderful relationship with sister Mariama Cham (Sam’s mom) and willingly brought the child to her. Things got sour, and she took her child back. If anyone has a right to the little boy, it is is Neneh because this is her child. Both Sam and Neneh are imperfect but when it comes to the welfare of this child, he needs to see his mom bring him up while Sam fulfills his parental responsibilities. This boy doesn’t deserve what’s going on

TO THE GAMBIAN JUDGE who decreed to take custody from the child’s mother in favor of a grandmother when the father is right here in America, you’ve erred and I hope other legal minds challenge your behavior. If the decision was made based on a one-sided story, then that judge is wrong.

HOW MANY MOTHERS ARE HAVING THEIR CHILDREN TAKEN away from them because the other side has more money or bigger connections??? Where is Department of Social Welfare, an institution I worked for and they were outstanding in protecting the rights of our children??? Are they also corrupt nowadays??? Where is the American Embassy, an institution that is in Gambia to protect AMERICAN citizens??? Please don’t tell me they don’t get involved in child welfare. This child is AMERICAN!!!!

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