Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will be hosting four other West African leaders at an emergency meeting aimed at avoiding violence and preserving democracy in Gambia here Monday.
The meeting follows one held in Accra Sunday on the sidelines of the inauguration of President Nana Akufo-Addo. The leaders of Liberia and Senegal, the Vice President of Sierra-Leone and Ghana’s President John Mahama, whoi has just stepped down, are expected at Monday’s meeting.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said here Sunday that the meeting will discuss further steps to be taken. There are some disturbing information that the (Nigerian) president is hearing which he needs to verify and the Abuja meeting will take a final decision, he said, without elaborating
In Accra, the West African leaders expressed the readiness of the sub-region to continue the pursuit of dialogue with the leaders of The Gambia. At the last meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Abuja, President Buhari, and former president Mahama were appointed as Mediator and Co-Mediator to resolve the political impasse in Gambia.
They were also been mandated by the Ecowas to ensure the safety of Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow and ensure a peaceful handover of power as scheduled on Jan 19.
After the meeting in Accra on Sunday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ecowas does not yet intend to deploy its standby military force in Gambia. “We are committed to a peaceful mediation and a peaceful transfer of power in the Gambia we will continue to pursue that for now, added Sirleaf, who chairs the 15-member sub-regional grouping.
Asked if the regional group would deploy a standby force soon, she said no, adding that Ecowas was closely monitoring proceedings in Gambia’s Supreme Court where President Yahya Jammeh is challenging the polls result.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the top United Nations official in West Africa, also attended the closed-door meeting, which was the first official engagement by Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo who was sworn in on Saturday.
Jammeh, a former coup leader who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, initially accepted his defeat by opposition figure Adama Barrow in the Dec 1 election. But a week later, he reversed his position, vowing to hang onto power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK