By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – West African leaders on Monday resolved to meet with Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh on Wednesday in Banjul to discuss the need for him to respect his country’s constitution.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama made this known in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on the outcome of a meeting of some ECOWAS leaders in Abuja.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the mediator in the crisis in The Gambia.
Onyeama told the correspondents that the meeting deliberated on the current state of affairs in The Gambia and shared views on the way forward.
“They deliberated on the current state of affairs in The Gambia and shared views on the way forward.
“They 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 respects 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 president’s will visit President Jammeh in The Gambia in two days’ time, and that again will comprise the mediator, President 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 the United Nations and also a representative of the African Union.’’
He said the meeting with Jammeh would take place on Wednesday and that discussions with him would dwell on the need for him to respect the Gambian Constitution.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that those who attended the Abuja meeting include Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is also the chair of the ECOWAS authority; the President of Senegal, Macky Sall and the former President of Ghana, John Mahama, who is also the co-chair mediator with President Buhari.
The President of the ECOWAS commission and also the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr Mohammad Ibn Chambas, also participated in the meeting.
Chambas is also the head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.
NAN further reports that the Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin was at the venue of the meeting, which lasted for about four hours.
Under the Gambia electoral laws, President Jammeh is obliged to handover power to president elect on January 19.