Nigeria’s parliament will consider giving the Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh and his family asylum and a “safe haven as part of the reconciliation process of the crisis” in mainland Africa’s smallest nation, said Abdulrazak Namdas, Spokesperson for the House of Representatives.
The parliament will be debating the motion Thursday ahead of talks between President Yahya Jammeh and West African mediators led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Yahya Jammeh lost last month’s elections to opposition-backed Adama Barrow but is refusing to step down until his complaint is heard and a ruling made by the Supreme Court.
Emmanuel Yisa Orker-Jev, head of the rules and business committee in the House of Representatives said that the debate would consider whether asylum for Jammeh would allow Barrow “to take over power, as the majority of Gambians would wish.”
Nigeria had in the past given asylum to other African leaders including Liberia’s Charles Taylor.
West African leaders are pushing for a peaceful end to the political standoff putting an ECOMOG force on hold to preserve the peace in the region.
But a report that President Yahya Jammeh was hiring rebel fighters heightened tensions in The Gambia, causing thousands to flee and become internally displaced.
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said on Tuesday that “violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out” by ECOWAS to ensure that the results of last month’s elections are upheld and the will of the Gambian people imposed.