The Nigerian Army has dispelled news that it had troops ready to intervene in the political impasse in the Gambia, adding that such information endangered the lives of Nigerians in the diaspora.
A local news portal, Premium Times, had on Thursday carried a story to the effect that the Army had put together a battalion by name ECOMOG NIBATT 1 to be deployed to forcefully remove Yahya Jammeh when his tenure expires later this month.
But a statement released on Thursday night said the Army disassociated itself from the false news which it said existed ‘‘only in the figment of the imagination of the medium.
There was no time or place Nigerian Army disclosed such information to the medium. For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerian Army is not planning to attack any country.
‘‘There was no time or place Nigerian Army disclosed such information to the medium. If there is any, we challenge them to name the officer or soldier that gave them such information and when. For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerian Army is not planning to attack any country,’‘ the Army stressed.
Meanwhile, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari is expected in the Gambian capital Banjul with his co mediators to continue efforts aimed at solving the post electoral crisis that has put the tiny West African country on the edge.
Buhari was appointed mediator along with Ghana’s former president John Mahama by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This is the second visit by the team to Gambia after an earlier one weeks ago.
Jammeh refused to accept election results from the December 1 polls citing irregularities and intimidation of his supporters. The opposition say they are going ahead with inauguration plans for the victor, opposition candidate Adama Barrow.
Nigerian legislators on Thursday passed a vote that allows Jammeh to be granted political asylum should he opt to step down and peacefully transfer executive power when his tenure ends.
ECOWAS has hinted that it could apply military intervention if mediation fails. The army has recently pledged allegiance to Jammeh. He has also had some strong words for ECOWAS in televised addresses, accusing them of declaring war, which he say he is ready for.