Nigeria’s foreign minister hopeful of peaceful end to Gambia’s political impasse

Nigeria’s foreign minister hopeful of peaceful end to Gambia’s political impasse

Nigeria prefers a peaceful resolution to military intervention to end the political logjam in The Gambia, says its Foreign Minister Geofrey Onyeama. But the Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has until January 18 to secure a peaceful exit or face an ECOWAS military force seeking to uphold the outcome of last month’s polls.

Onyeama met with Senegal’s President Macky Sall to discuss ‘‘a mediation for a return to constitutional order in the Gambia in Dakar last week.

“Essentially, we want a peaceful resolution to the issue. So we would do everything possible to help Gambia have a peaceful resolution to this political crisis,” said Foreign Minister Onyeama.

Geofrey Onyeama is hopeful that President Yahya Jammeh will heed the call of other West African leaders to hand over despite Jammeh accusing ECOWAS of being biased and declaring a war against the Gambia.

“We would like to believe that he would listen to the voice of his peers in the sub-region ECOWAS. And that he will also listen to the voice of his people, but above all, he will follow the democratic path. So we will do everything possible to bring that about.”

President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to step down after losing to Adama Barrow. He initially accepted defeat before making a political fumble rejecting the results and challenging the outcome of the polls in court.

Four West African leaders visited Banjul, including Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari but were unsuccessful in their bid to convince Jammeh to change his mind and allow a smooth transition.

Barrow has vowed to swear himself on January 19 and declare Jammeh’s regime a rebel government.

A renewed crackdown has been mounted by security forces targeting pro-democracy activists. At least two radio stations remain closed after they were taken off air on new year’s and the country’s electoral chief has fled the country this week.

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