The Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday airlifted troops to the Gambia, a day before the initial time set for the inauguration of the President-elect, Mr Adama Barrow.
Gambian parliament had earlier on Wednesday extended the president’s remaining days in office by 90 days.
The deployment is part of efforts to ensure that President Yahya Jammeh will hand over power to the winner of the December 1 presidential election.
ECOWAS, had warned that military force may be considered should Mr Jammeh insist on staying in power.
The Nigerian contingents will join troops from Ghana and Senegal.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Amaka Okafor, who joined the troops before their departure in Kanji in Niger State, said that the Chief of Air Staff had earlier arrived at the 117 Air Combat Training Camp In Kanji to address the troops being deployed as part of a stand-by force in a yet to be named operation in the Gambia.
“Your Mission Is Very Clear”
ECOWAS decided to engage its military after the mediating team led by Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, could not convince President Jammeh to relinquish power to the president-elect of Gambia.
Mr Jammeh had earlier said he would accept the result of the election but changed his mind few days later, insisting that another election should be held.
He had filed a suit but the judiciary of the country refused to give its ruling in the case.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Sadiq Abubakar, told the contingent before their departure from the Air Force Unit to be of good behaviour, observe safety and precautionary measures as they carry out their operations.
He gave the assurance that all the troops needed would be provided.
The Air chief said: “I want to leave nobody in doubt that you are professionals. I want you to also leave nobody in doubt that you are a highly disciplined force.
“Your mission is very clear. Your commander is with you. What we want is for you to get there, do you work professionally and conduct yourselves as disciplined force”.
Done with the address, the troops made their way to their various aircraft participating in the operation while the support team made their way to the Charlie 130 Aircraft.
The other pilots took their positions in the various fighter jets participating in the operation.
The 200-man contingent include 20 air crew and 80 combat support team for the first batch of the Nigerian Air contingent in the yet to be named operation.
Their departure came a day after Naval Ship NNS Unity left the shores of Nigeria for the Gambia, reading for any military force.