200 Nigerian Air Force Men Return From Gambia

200 Nigerian Air Force Men Return From GambiaTwo hundred of the Nigerian Air Force personnel sent for peace keeping in Banjul, The Gambia, are back home, after what they called a successful campaign in the country.

The officers and men who arrived at about 6:30 on Thursday evening, were brought in an Air Force plane.

The troops were part of the ECOWAS military force sent to restore democracy in The Gambia.

Former President Yayah Jameh had refused to step down after losing an election to current President Adama Barrow.

The officers and airmen were received by Air Vice Marshal, James Gbum at the Air Force wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

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 then president-elect of Gambia, Adama Barrow.

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.

Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mohammed Dan-Ali, explained that ECOWAS decided in a meeting to use its standby force in upholding the result of the presidential election held in December 2016, which produced Mr Adama Barrow as winner.

The Minister added that in line with the ECOWAS directive, the Nigerian military would deploy its assets to protect the people of The Gambia and maintain regional peace and security.

The mission was accomplished when Mr Adama Barrow was successfully sworn-in as President in neighbouring Senegal with Jammeh left with no other option than to leave few days after.

This paved the way for the return of Barrow as President, but the ECOWAS troops had to remain in the country ahead of the arrival of the elected President Adama Barrow.

ECOWAS said that it was retaining troops from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana to secure the city for the next six days ahead of President Adama Barrow’s return.

ECOWAS Troops To Remain In Gambia

ECOWAS Troops To Remain In GambiaThe President of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain De Souza says ECOWAS troops deployed for mission in The Gambia would remain in the country ahead of the arrival of the elected President Adama Barrow.

Briefing members of the diplomatic corps and commissioners from member countries, the President said that it has retained troops from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana to secure the city for the next six days ahead of President Adama Barrow’s return.

The ECOWAS president appealed for financial support from international partners to conclude its mission successfully in The Gambia.

Responding to the allegation that the former president, Mr Yahaya Jameh took away 11.4 million dollar from the country’s treasury, ECOWAS promised to encourage and support any form of investigation.

ECOWAS says while it lends support to the present government in any investigative move on the former President Yahya Jammeh, it has not validated the joint declaration by the EU and AU to grant him presidential amnesty.

Osinbajo Resumes As Acting President, Gets Update On The Gambia Situation

yemi-osinbajoNigeria’s acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday received updates and briefs on the Gambian situation and other issues in the country from a number of cabinet ministers.

A spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, hinted of the briefing in a post published on his twitter handle on Friday.

“Work Of Change”

Mr Akande had earlier tweeted that “work of change” had always been on Professor Osinbajo’s mind.

He said Professor Osinbajo had returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday night to attend to some engagements in Ibadan, on Friday morning.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly announced his deputy, as acting president while he is away on vacation.

In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh on Friday agreed to leave office and allow internationally recognised Adama Barrow, who had been sworn in, begin administration of government activities.

Mr Barrow had on his Twitter handle announced Mr Jammeh’s decision to leave, a development that could douse the already tensed atmosphere in the Gambia.

ECOWAS, AU, UN Congratulate Gambian President, Adama Barrow

ECOWAS, AU, UN Congratulate Gambian President, Adama BarrowThe ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations have congratulated the President of the Republic of The Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow, on the occasion of his swearing-in and assumption of office.

This is following his victory at the presidential election of December 1, 2016 and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

The joint statement was released on Thursday evening after Adama Barrow took the oath of office in neighbouring Senegal as incumbent Yahya Jammeh refused to leave office.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations equally congratulate the people of The Gambia who have demonstrated patience, discipline, maturity and resolve to defend their popular will, as expressed in the 1st December, 2016 presidential election and during the post-electoral crisis.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again commend the independence, professionalism and commitment of members of the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia and all political parties for exercising the needed restraint that paved way for the peaceful conduct of the 1st December, 2016 presidential election.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations commend the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Her Excellency (Mrs) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as His Excellency  Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and Co-Mediator, for the efforts undertaken for the resolution of the post-electoral impasse in The Gambia in full compliance with constitutional legality to ensure peaceful transfer of power.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations urge His Excellency Adama Barrow to take all necessary steps to strengthen national unity, social harmony and peace in the Gambia with a view to addressing the socio-political and economic challenges that have hampered poverty reduction in the country.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again urge the Security Forces to observe neutrality and conduct themselves in a civil manner, and to strongly support President Barrow by maintaining public order and security which are essential to the stability and development of the country.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations reaffirm their commitment to continue accompanying The Gambia in consolidating democracy and rule of law in the country,” the statement reads.

ECOWAS Mandates Deployment Of Forces To The Gambia

ECOWAS Mandates Deployment Of Forces To The GambiaThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has formally approved the deployment of troops to The Gambia.

In a statement signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mohammed Dan-Ali, the federal government explained that ECOWAS decided in a meeting to use its standby force in upholding the result of the presidential election held in The Gambia in December 2016, which produced Mr Adama Barrow as winner.

The Minister added that in line with the ECOWAS directive, the Nigerian military would deploy its assets to protect the people of The Gambia and maintain regional peace and security.

 

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian President

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian PresidentAdama Barrow has been sworn in as Gambian President in neighbouring Senegal as incumbent Yahya Jammeh refuses to leave office.

The man who won The Gambia’s disputed election, took the oath at the Gambian embassy in Senegal.

“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in a lifetime,” Barrow said in a speech immediately after taking the oath of office.

Adama Barrow, born 16 February 1965, is a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Prior to his presidential campaign, he was the treasurer of the UDP and operated a real estate agency.

He established the agency, Majum Real Estate, in 2006 after returning from studies in London, England.

He has been exiled in Senegal having had his victory at the presidential election of 2016 rejected by the former president, Yahya Jammeh.

He arrived Senegal at the weekend following an invitation to attend a summit of African leaders who back his victory.

He missed the Monday funeral of his eight-year-old son who died after being mauled by a dog, as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.

Jammeh, who has been in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded to Barrow before he then back-tracked, saying the vote was flawed and there had to be a re-run.

Overnight talks with African leaders to convince him to stand down failed.

Gambia’s Parliament Extends President Jammeh’s Tenure

Yahya Jammeh, Gambia, ParliamentThe Gambia’s parliament has extended President Yahya Jammeh’s term by 90 days.

The President’s tenure is due to end on Thursday, after he lost to Mr Adama Barrow in the December 2016 elections.

The parliament also approved his decision to declare a 90-day state of emergency in the small West African state.

This is coming days after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) promised to explore all options including the use of military to ensure President Jammeh stepped down.

Ousman Badjie, head of the country’s army, said to be no match for regional powers, has pledged his support for President Jammeh.

Mr Jammeh has been promoting his loyalists in recent years including Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.

Nigeria’s military set sail to Gambia on Tuesday amid tension that is beginning to rise, as the inauguration day of January 19 is just a day away.

Meanwhile, thousands of UK and Dutch tourists are being evacuated from the Gambia.

The country is popular with European holidaymakers because of its beaches.

Nigerian Warship, Troops Head To Gambia Amid Rising Tension

NNS-DeltaNigeria’s military says its newest warship, the NNS Unity, is sailing to Gambia for peacekeeping, as tension has continued to mount due to President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to accept the result of December 1 election which he lost.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had promised to explore all options including the use of military to ensure that President Jammeh stepped down.

The country’s army is said to be no match for regional powers.

The president has been promoting his loyalists in recent years including Army Chief Ousman Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.

Senegal, on the other hand, is preparing ground troops ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Meanwhile, barely 48 hours to supposed presidential inauguration, President Jammeh, has declared a 90-day state of emergency.

The president made the announcement on national television, where he said any acts of disobedience to the laws of Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace, have been banned under the state of emergency.

Adama Barrow, a property developer, won the December 1 presidential election, but President Jammeh has refused to accept election results.

He had initially declared his willingness to hand over power if he lost, but later changed his mind after Mr Barrow was declared winner.

The state of emergency banned “acts of disobedience” and “acts intended to disturb public order”.

Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 as only the second president since Gambia’s independence in 1965 and his government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents, rights groups say. In 2015, he declared that the country was an Islamic Republic.

Pro-democracy activists across Africa welcomed his defeat and his refusal to step down has provoked an internal crisis as well as a test of courage for regional leaders.

Gambia’s top judge on Monday declined to rule on Jammeh’s election petition and in a political blow to the president, the ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment have resigned, according to ministry sources.

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and some other West African nation’s leaders had made attempts to convince Mr Jammeh to hand over power to the president-elect, but no headway was made.

Gambia’s President-Elect Barrow To Remain In Senegal Until Hand Over

Gambia's Adama Barrow Says Win Heralds 'New Hope'Gambia’s President-elect, Adama Barrow, has left the country for neighbouring Senegal, where he will remain until inauguration date, a coalition member and local media said on Sunday.

Mr Barrow’s departure came a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

The President-elect, a former real estate agent, won a December 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin. Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind, plunging one of West Africa’s tourist hot spots into crisis and dimming hopes for democracy in a region accustomed to coups and autocratic rule.

Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on January 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results.

“He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilising the whole country for that,” Reuters quoted a member of Barrow’s coalition, Isatou Toure, as saying.

Toure did not say why Barrow had gone to Dakar, although other supporters said he felt vulnerable given a lack of security.

The regional mediation mission to Banjul on Saturday, led by Nigeria’s President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was seen as the last attempt at a diplomatic resolution to the political impasse.

Talks with regional bloc ECOWAS in December had also failed.

The bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Mohammed Ibn Chambas said earlier this week.

“His Excellency the President reiterated his position and that of The Gambia Government,” said a statement for Gambia’s President on the State House website after Saturday’s meeting.

The African Union on Friday said it would cease to recognise Yahya Jammeh as Gambia’s president as of January 19, the date he is due to hand power to the winner of the December election.

President Buhari Heads To The Gambia For ECOWAS Mediation Mission

President Buhari Heads To The Gambia For ECOWAS Mediation MissionPresident Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia and Bamako, the Malian capital from January 13 to 14, 2017.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

In Banjul, President Buhari, as the Mediator in The Gambia, is scheduled to meet with President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and the President-elect Adama Barrow to continue dialogue on the political situation in the West African country.

The President will be joined by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and the immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama, who is the co-mediator of The Gambian mission.

Later on January 13, President Buhari will travel to Bamako, Mali to participate in the 27th Africa–France Summit.

The Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence, convened by French President Francois Hollande, is aimed at strengthening cooperation between France and African countries in the areas of peace and security, economic partnership and development.

Recognising the role played by France in the successes so far recorded in the implementation of the regional initiative against terrorism, President Buhari will reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to global efforts on the war against terror and underline the need for improved collaboration to address the menace of terrorism in the region.

President Buhari will use the opportunity of the summit to underscore the efforts government is making to improve Nigeria’s business environment to attract more foreign direct investment.

The President will be accompanied by Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defence.

Buhari, Other ECOWAS Leaders To Visit Gambia Again

muhammadu-buhari-and-sirleaf-johnsonNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, Presidents of Sierra Leone and Liberia will visit Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, on Wednesday, in another push for him to hand over power to the winner of the presidential election.

The decision for a second visit was reached at a meeting of West African Leaders held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

It had in attendance, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Sirleaf Johnson; Ghana’s John Mahama and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall.

The leaders discussed the Gambian presidential election outcome, where President Jammeh is refusing to step aside after losing an election.

Jammeh has been in power since a 1994 coup, but he lost a December 1 election to businessman Adama Barrow. He has contested the results in a move condemned at home and abroad.

President Buhari will lead the mediation team to Gambia, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who briefed reports after the meeting, said.

“They agreed on the determination to resolve the Gambian political crisis in a manner that at every step of the way, conforms with the constitution of The Gambia and respects the will of the people of Gambia.

“They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that has been reported in respect of security in The Gambia, in particular the closure of some of the radio stations and media houses, arrests that have been taking place and also the refugee situation that is being created with the mass exodus of a large number of people to the interior and to neighbouring countries.

“In view of this, the meeting agreed that a certain number of presidents will visit again, in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia,” he said.

Committed To Resolution

A spokesman for the Nigerian presidency, Mr Garba Shehu, had said on Friday that President Buhari, as “the chief mediator of the crisis” is committed to “ensuring that the logjam is resolved”.

Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the December 1 election, shocking Gambians who have lived through his rule since he took power in a 1994 coup, and triggering celebrations in the streets.

But a week later he changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased by “foreign influences” and vowing to hang on despite regional and international condemnation.

Jammeh says ECOWAS has no right to interfere in Gambia’s internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme Court.

ECOWAS Leaders To Take ‘Major Decision’ On Gambia

NGO Warns Jammeh Over Rejection Of Gambian Election ResultWest African leaders will take a “major decision” on the political impasse in Gambia at a meeting in Ghana on Saturday, a spokesman for the Nigerian presidency said on Friday.

The West African ECOWAS bloc said last month it would take all necessary steps to uphold the result of a December 1 election in Gambia, where veteran President Yahya Jammeh says he will not step down after losing to Adama Barrow.

Reuters reports that ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19.

Jammeh has called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war”, and said he will defend himself.

“A major decision on the impasse is expected to be taken at that all-important meeting,” said Garba Shehu, spokesman for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

“President Buhari is the chief mediator of the crisis and he is committed to ensuring that the logjam is resolved,” he stated.

Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the December 1 election, shocking Gambians who have lived through his rule since he took power in a 1994 coup, and triggering celebrations in the streets.

But a week later he changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased by “foreign influences” and vowing to hang on despite regional and international condemnation.

Jammed says ECOWAS has no right to interfere in Gambia’s internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme Court.