ECOWAS mediation mission led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has pushed forward its visit to Banjul, the capital of Gambia, to Friday.
This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President.
Shehu revealed that the postponement was at the instance of President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia.
“In accepting to postpone the visit earlier planned to take place on Wednesday, President Buhari, who is mediating alongside Mr John Mahama, the immediate past president of Ghana, said the delay notwithstanding, the mandate of the ECOWAS will be accomplished,’’ he added.
He said that Buhari reiterated the appeal on Monday by ECOWAS leaders that “The Gambian leaders do everything they can to douse the tension in the West African country, which has led citizens to leave the country due to political uncertainty.
“The Nigerian leader said that the ECOWAS is committed to the resolution of the crisis through inclusive dialogue with respect to the constitution and the will of the people of Gambia.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that West African leaders on Monday in Abuja had resolved to meet with Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh on Jan. 11 in Banjul, The Gambia, to discuss with him the need to respect the constitution of his country.
Buhari in his capacity as the mediator of the crisis in The Gambia hosted the meeting.
The Abuja meeting deliberated on the current state of affairs in The Gambia and shared views on the way forward.
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.
They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that had been reported in respect of security in The Gambia in particular, the closure of some radio stations and media houses, 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 agree that a certain number of Presidents will visit in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia and that again will comprise the mediator Buhari together with the President of Liberia and hopefully, the President of Sierra-Leone.
“Others on the visit are 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,’’ a communiqué at the end of the meeting, which was read by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, said.