Yahya-Jammeh-President-of-The-GambiaThe regime in Gambia has scrapped a presidential pronouncement which ordered female government employees to cover their hair at work.

The ban, imposed on 4 January, came less than a month after Yahya Jammeh unilaterally declared the secular country an Islamic republic in a move he said was “designed to distance the West African state further from its colonial past.”

The regime said in a statement that the ban was lifted because it made women “unhappy”, adding that they were the country’s dictator’s “best friends”.

Rights groups and Gambians in the diaspora were critical of the ban.

But Banjul said that the regime’s initial ban had had “nothing to do with religion” and that women should not be upset by it.

“Women are Jammeh’s best friends, they are his sisters and he is here for their wellbeing and happiness at all times,” a statement said.

“That being the case, this decision that makes them unhappy has been lifted.”