President Muhammadu Buhari will again lead a delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to The Gambia tomorrow to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to handover peacefully on December 19th to Adama Barrow, the winner of the December 1, 2016 presidential election.
This is one of the decisions reached after a meeting of ECOWAS leaders held at the State House in Abuja yesterday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting hosted by Buhari and attended by the Liberian President and the chair of the ECOWAS authority, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senegalese President Macky Sall and immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama, who is the co-Mediator in resolving The Gambia’s political impasse, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who read out the communique of the meeting said the meeting deliberated on the current state of affairs in The Gambia and shared views on the way forward.
He said the leaders also agreed to respect the constitution of that country.
The minister said the West African leaders expressed concern at the growing tension in the country and condemned the clampdown on the media.
The communique stated that the leaders “agreed on the determination to resolve The Gambian political crisis in a manner that every step of the way conforms with the constitution of The Gambia and respect the will of the people of The Gambia.
“They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that has been reported in respect of security in The Gambia in particular, the closure of some of the radio stations and media and house, arrest that have been taking place and also the refugee situation that is being created with the mass exodus of a large number of people to the interior and to neighbouring countries.
“In view of this, the meeting agreed that a certain number of presidents will visit in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia and that again will comprise the mediator President Buhari together with the President of Liberia and hopefully, the President of Sierra-Leone and the co-mediator the former President of Ghana (John Mahamma) as well as the President of the ECOWAS commission, the Special Representatives of United Nations and also a Representative of the African Union. So, this meeting will take place in two days time on Wednesday to discuss with President Jammeh the imperative the constitution.”
This is the second term the delegation will travel time the Gambia.
Jammeh had reportedly closed down four radio stations.
Two private radio stations in the country, Hilltop Radio and Afri Radio, were forced to go off the air without explanation, this was shortly after Taranga FM was shut down.
Also present at the meeting were the Presidents of the ECOWAS commission and also the Special Representatives of the United Nations Secretary General who happens to be the head of the UN office for West Africa and the Sahel.
Meanwhile, plans by President Jammeh to use the Supreme Court of the Gambia and justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to set aside the victory of Barrow at the December 1, 2016 presidential election may have hit the rock as Nigeria declined his request to nominate judges to sit at the court.
A letter from the Office of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Sylvester Onnoghen to Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, the Chief Justice of The Gambia, stated that it was not convenient for Nigeria to release any of its judges to go and sit at the Supreme Court of The Gambia at present.
The letter, which is dated January 5, 2017 with Ref. CJN/JAC/A63/T/322 was titled Re: Sitting Session of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Gambia.
The letter read: “I write in response to your latter Ref. No. ZD 133/215/01/P.IV/(203) on the above matter dated December 21, 2116 and thank you for same.
“You will recall that our justices are usually scheduled to sit in your Supreme Court in the months of May and November.
“Based on this long established understanding, our court sitting schedule is usually drawn up with the consideration of this assignment.
“In view of the above, I regret to inform you that the re-scheduled date for this sitting session of your Supreme Court is unfavourable to us as it will greatly affect our schedule and case management. I therefore urge you to adhere to the earlier schedule of May and November each year to avoid inconveniences to both judiciaries.
“Please be assured of our continued support of your judiciary.”
The letter was signed by Justice Onnoghen.

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