Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and his wife Mrs Fatima Bio have today arrived in Banjul for the start of a three day state visit to the Gambia, hosted by the Gambia leader – president Adama Barrow and his wife Mrs Fatoumatta Bah Barrow.
President Bio and Madam Fatima Bio were received at the Banjul International Airport by President Barrow and Mrs Barrow with pomp and pageantry.
The colourful reception at Banjul airport demonstrates the high regard with which president Bio and his wife – who is also a Gambian national are held in the Gambia. Many Sierra Leoneans living in the Gambia were at the airport to greet president Bio and Fatima.
Presidents Bio and Barrow sat in an open rooftop car roof, waving to the jubilant crowd as the presidential motorcade drove from the airport. It was spontaneous and showed two Presidents who are not only popular with ordinary people but also two politicians who care deeply for ordinary people.
Also there were smiles and great sisterly affection between the two First Ladies at the Banjul International Airport. For Mrs Fatima Bio, the Gambia is like “home away from home”.
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone is a true symbolism of the long and rich history between Sierra Leone and the Gambia; a product of both cultures and languages shared by both countries.
This state visit is symbolic as it is the maiden state visit to the Gambia for both President Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio since Bio’s election as President.
Later tonight, president of the Republic of The Gambia and Madam Fatoumatta Bah Barrow will host a State Banquet in honour of president Bio and wife.
On Wednesday, both President Bio and President Barrow will hold bilateral meeting at State House in Banjul, followed by a joint press briefing with both Heads of State.
On Wednesday evening, president Bio will meet with the members of the Sierra Leone Community in the Gambia on Friday 22nd February 2019.
Keeping true to her passion for healthcare, on Thursday, Mrs Fatima Bio will visit the Edward Francis Teaching Hospital where she will be received by Mrs Fatoumatta Bah Barrow. Later in the day, Madam Fatima Bio will be hosted to a lunch by the Gambian First Lady.
President Julius Maada Bio is also scheduled to visit the Sierra Leone High Commission in Banjul before returning to Sierra Leone.
President Bio is accompanied by the Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs Nimatulai Bah-Chang, Head of Strategic Communications, Dr. Patrick K. Muana and the Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi.