Nigerian lawmakers voted to grant President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia asylum and a safe haven if he accepts his election defeat and steps down when his term expires next week.
Representatives in Nigeria’s parliament hope the effort will end the political crisis in the small country that Jammeh ruled for 22 years.
Nigeria’s House of Representatives say providing a safe haven for President Jammeh is better than sending troops.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is leading mediation efforts to end the impasse. He and other West African leaders are due in Banjul on Friday for a fresh round of talks with Mr. Jammeh.
Jammeh was defeated in December 1, 2016, polls by real estate developer Adama Barrow, who is backed by eight opposition groups.
President Yahya Jammeh said the polls were marred by abnormalities and demanded fresh elections be held. He has since filed a petition challenging the outcome in the Supreme Court.
Jammeh says he is not stepping down until the Supreme Court makes a decision, which may not happen until in May or November.
The spokesperson for President-elect Adama Barrow said the little-known businessman who trumped Jammeh would be sworn in. Barrow’s swearing in, he said, has nothing to do with Jammeh’s petition.
ECOWAS has authorized a standby force to enforce the election results and uphold the will of The Gambian people if Jammeh refuses to relinquish power after January 18.
Mr. Jammeh seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses. He has regularly held elections, and his defeat in December came as a shock.