Nigeria’s military says its newest warship, the NNS Unity, is sailing to Gambia for peacekeeping, as tension has continued to mount due to President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to accept the result of December 1 election which he lost.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had promised to explore all options including the use of military to ensure that President Jammeh stepped down.
The country’s army is said to be no match for regional powers.
The president has been promoting his loyalists in recent years including Army Chief Ousman Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.
Senegal, on the other hand, is preparing ground troops ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
Meanwhile, barely 48 hours to supposed presidential inauguration, President Jammeh, has declared a 90-day state of emergency.
The president made the announcement on national television, where he said any acts of disobedience to the laws of Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace, have been banned under the state of emergency.
Adama Barrow, a property developer, won the December 1 presidential election, but President Jammeh has refused to accept election results.
He had initially declared his willingness to hand over power if he lost, but later changed his mind after Mr Barrow was declared winner.
The state of emergency banned “acts of disobedience” and “acts intended to disturb public order”.
Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 as only the second president since Gambia’s independence in 1965 and his government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents, rights groups say. In 2015, he declared that the country was an Islamic Republic.
Pro-democracy activists across Africa welcomed his defeat and his refusal to step down has provoked an internal crisis as well as a test of courage for regional leaders.
Gambia’s top judge on Monday declined to rule on Jammeh’s election petition and in a political blow to the president, the ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment have resigned, according to ministry sources.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and some other West African nation’s leaders had made attempts to convince Mr Jammeh to hand over power to the president-elect, but not headway was made.