Nigeria’s army dispelled reports that it is sending troops to The Gambia, where its President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to step down.
Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Sani K. Usman said that there was not a time or place when the Nigerian Army disclosed such information to Premium Times, the Nigerian paper that did an exclusive on the report.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Army is not planning to attack any country,” Mr. Usman said, adding it could endanger the safety and security of Nigerians abroad.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is due in Banjul, The Gambia’s capital on Friday to hold talks with Jammeh in hopes to peacefully end the political crisis. The Nigerian House of Representatives voted to grant President Yahya Jammeh asylum if he agrees to step down next week.
The lawmakers said “the clock is ticking fast” for The Gambia and there was a need to step up diplomacy, as the possibility of violence and mass displacement threatened West African stability.
ECOWAS has put on hold a standby force to bend Jammeh to leave.
Buhari’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Tuesday that “violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out” by regional bloc ECOWAS to ensure The Gambia’s constitution was upheld.