BANJUL JANUARY 13, 2017 (CISA) – Gambia’s opposition leader Adama Barrow has said that there is no need for President Yahya Jammeh to seek asylum.
Barrow’s sentiments followed Nigeria’s lower house decision on January 12, to authorize President Muhammadu Buhari to offer President Jammeh asylum if he steps down and hand over power to Barrow – who won Gambia’s December 1, 2016 elections, reported Reuters.
The motion was sponsored by Sani Zorro, a member of the president’s ruling All Progressive Congress party. “We need to strengthen the hands of the president [Buhari] while negotiating,” said Zorro.
President Buhari is due to travel with other West African leaders to Gambia today to persuade President Jammeh to accept the election results. ECOWAS has warned that it would consider removing him using military force if he refuses.
Barrow said while he welcomed the move by Nigeria MPs to offer President Jammeh asylum, he did not feel the situation would “get to this level.”
“We want to keep Jammeh in Gambia, I don’t think there’s any need for him to go to another country,” he said.
President Jammeh whose term officially ends January 18, initially accepted defeated in the polls but now wants the results annulled after the electoral commission changed some – though it insists this did not affect the final outcome.
The Supreme Court is unable to hear the challenge until May because of a shortage of judges, and Mr Jammeh says he will not step down until then, and on January 12 his lawyer filed a request with the Supreme Court asking for an injunction to block Mr Barrow’s swearing-in.
Barrow has however called on President Mr Jammeh to “respect the constitution” and engage in direct talks. “We solve our problems within ourselves without the intervention of anybody. I think that’s what we’d prefer,” he said.
Mr Barrow won 43.3 percent of the vote compared with Mr Jammeh’s 39.6 percent . A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, got 17.1 percent.