Speaking with state TV, Jammeh noted that the move marks a break with the colonial past and it is line with Gambia’s “religious identity and values”.
Explaining his decision, the president said: “As Muslims are the majority in the country, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy”.
Gambia’s population of 1.8 million people are 95% Muslim. Jammeh assured citizens of other faiths that no dress code would be imposed and they would still be able to practice freely.
Over his 21-year presidency, Jammeh has earned the reputation of an animated orator for making surprise declarations.
In 2007, the president claimed to have found a cure for Aids.
In November 2015, he announced that he would outlaw female genital mutilation after continuous international pressure. However activists have noted that more international pressure is needed for the president to pass his declaration into law.