ECOWAS defence chiefs meet, prepare for military action in Gambia

The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, on Saturday hosted colleagues from other West African countries as ECOWAS steps up preparation for a possible military action in the Gambia.

The meeting, held at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, was part of the preparation for the inauguration of an Ecowas Military Intervention Group (ECOMIG) for the small West African country should President Yahya Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down when his tenure expires on January 19.

Mr. Jammeh lost the December 1 2016 election to Adama Barrow of the opposition.

While welcoming the participants and ECOWAS officials to Nigeria, Mr. Olonisakin, a General, expressed the readiness of regional leaders and military commanders to continue the pursuit of dialogue with the political leaders of Gambia and ensure peaceful transition of power in accordance with the Gambian’s constitution and the peoples will.ECOWAS service chiefs 2

A source close to the meeting told PREMIUM TIMES that a decision was taken that the defence chiefs should return to their various countries to prepare troops for possible deployment in Gambia.

A statement published on the website of the Defence Headquarters listed notable
dignitaries at the event to include the chairperson of ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staffs, Daniel Ziankahn of Liberia (Brigadier General); CH Gueye of Senegal; ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Hajiya Salamatu; Vice President of the Commission; the Ghanian Chief of Defence Staff and principal staff officers from Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force headquarters.

No communique was issued at the end of the meeting, which held just as ECOWAS vowed to take all necessary actions to enforce the will of the Gambian people.

The UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) said ECOWAS had decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results of the Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election in the Gambia.

ECOWAS service chiefsMohamed Chambas, Head of UNOWAS, disclosed this while briefing the UN Security Council on the political and security situation in the region.

Mr. Chambas is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.

Mr. Chambas pointed out that there was progress in West Africa and the Sahel, but warned of the region’s political challenges, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said at the briefing.
The UN envoy cited a “rising tide of democracy” throughout the continent, noting that a number of countries had recently held elections which largely complied with electoral norms and standards, upholding their status as a model in the region and beyond.

Referring to the presidential elections in the Gambia, and the ensuing crisis, Mr. Chambas said: “However, some countries in the region had witnessed political uncertainty or significant security challenges.’’

“We were saddened by the quickly unfolding political crisis resulting from President Jammeh changing his mind and deciding to reject the results,’’ he said.
He further updated the 15-member council on the initiatives to resolve the situation there taken by ECOWAS that agreed to uphold the elections results and decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results.

“UNOWAS is fully involved in supporting the ECOWAS-led mediation, which continues to explore all avenues towards a peaceful transfer of power,” the UN envoy added.

ECOWAS chiefsThe Secretary-General’s West Africa and Sahel envoy also informed council members of elections in Cape Verde and Ghana as well as in Guinea, where polls anticipated to be held in February had been postponed.

In his briefing, Mr. Chambas also spoke of the continuing security and humanitarian challenges in Nigeria due to frequent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram militant group.

He appealed for more funding and support for relief programmes in the country.
He further updated the council on UNOWAS’ close collaboration with other UN missions in the region and in the context of the drawdown of the UN missions in Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia.

He added that it worked on issues related to regional stabilisation, technical support and in the implementation of its Resolution 2282 (2016) and the General Assembly Resolution on Sustaining Peace.


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  • Omo Eleniyan 2

    EDITOR SIR,

    Can Nigeria survive as a country under President Buhari? No electricity since Christmas in many neighbourhoods
    in Lagos state, and, across Nigeria. There’s no water too. Soon, there will be no petrol to power a generator or to
    fuel a motorcycle or even a car. Can human civilization be maintained under the inhuman conditions wrought by
    President Buhari – given that unemployment level is now over 35% and over five million Nigerians have so far
    lost their jobs under President Muhamadu Buhari’s regime. Inflation is over 18% and the national currency
    has plummeted and been badly devalued close to 490 Naira to a dollar.

    • TTT news centre

      WHERE I STAND – President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

      “Let me make very clear, we are ready to defend this country
      against any aggression. If Ecowas did not back down the impasse will
      continue with the risk of escalation into a military confrontation. What
      we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and
      allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in a free and
      fair election. What is clearly incontrovertible is the decision of ECOWAS to
      implement the results of the December 1st 2016 election results by whatever
      means possible.

      It is totally illegal as it violates the principle of non-interference in the
      internal affairs of member states, which is an entrenched clause in the
      Ecowas treaty. ‘It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our Constitution.
      It is therefore absolutely unacceptable. This blatant, partial and one-dimensional
      approach clearly indicates that the role of Ecowas is not predicated on the pursuit
      of justice in the resolution of this stalemate”.

      ……………President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

      (January 1st, 2017)

      • Rommel

        Only three options are left to Jammeh as it today and they are,hand over peacefully,fight and die like Gaddafi or be taken prisoner to serve in Nigeria’s Gusau prisons,the choice is his

        • Deansmart

          Not even kirikiri cos kirikiri is too presidential

    • straight-to-the-point

      WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS WAR GOING TO ACHIEVE ON TOP OF THE RUINS OF THE GAMBIA?

      FOREIGN POLICY MUST BE CALIBRATED AND NOT IMPOSED ON A COUNTRY’S SUPREME COURT.

      • Olusola

        Supreme mandate belongs to the people and they already spoke. Yahya must go. He must be removed through force. PMB knows how it feels to win an election and you are not awarded victory, go to court and meet a brick wall. He must do all he can to ensure democracy thrives in the West coast of Africa. It doesn’t cost much, Gambia is not as populous as Ikeja in lagos and all his defence chiefs are with Nigeria. They will not put up any defence at all. We will pick Yahya cheap, cheap!

    • Olusola

      What are you smoking? I am typing from Ikeja and there is power supply! It is not constant but not anyway near what you describe here. Dollar is above 490NGN I think 497NGN and so what? buy what you can afford, dont go out anyhowly, I had remained indoors since friday. I go far away to church before, I stopped and connected on-line. Many will lose their jobs, as many of them have been stealing from their companies for a very long time, so let them go. I do have real pity for the innocent and pray God will support them throughout this trying times. We warned all of you since 2012 when Mr Jonathan was spending money like a spendthrift you will not listen. When we were at Ojota where were you? watching us on TV abi? Even if it is you and you must cleanse Nigeria and with no money there would be outcry. Are you not looking at Venezuela? There was no change of government there yet they are suffering because crude price plummeted, visit Arab countries, they are also going through some challenges. Mind you Venezuela is world’s largest producer of crude.

      • Apostel

        well said bro.

      • Rumournaire

        Very well said! Respect! People like @Omo Eleniyan 2 are wailing because the beat has changed, but they don’t want to change anything about their own lives. They are nostalgic about the GEJ days when people became billionaires overnight through embezzlement that impoverished the country.

      • design

        I agree that PMB is bringing Nigerians back from from the cloud to reality. GEJ was the worst thing to happen to Nigeria since Abacha. We must say NEVER again. But PMB needs to reach out to Africans in Diaspora to come in unity and forge a plan to salvage Nigeria. Nigeria can not be built by Nigerians within. There are many selfless, benevolent, scientists and engineers like myself in North America, tell PMB to reach out and make the clarion call that JFK made that still resonates today “For the love of your country at birth, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can and must do for your country” Then provide a congenial climate for that seed to sprout. No nation can achieve development status unless her scientists and engineers are the main drivers. Engineers are trained to recognize problems, develop solutions and solve the problem QED

        • Kill Korruption

          Yessir!!!

    • Shalom

      You are even part of the problem. Is Nigeria a country? Have u ever seen a country on planet earth where terrorists don’t have names? The Army will just inform you that a 200 or 13 or sometimes even 500 terrorists have been captured or killed or surrendered BUT their names are never released. Point out one COUNTRY where that happens?

  • Rommel

    Yahya Jammeh remains the president of the Gambia until the midnight of January 18th,as the hour hand crosses over and he still remains on that seat,he would be treated as a usurper and the ECOWAS military team which would provide security to Adama Barrow under his request for his inauguration ceremony know what to do,Jammeh cannot draw us back.

    • sab

      Has Jammeh done what none of these ECOMIG presidents have not done one way or the other? Some rig elections, some disobey the same ECOWAS COURT RULINGS, while some others enfage in human killings and feigning ignorance of ethnic massacres. Are these ecomig bosses in any way better than Jammeh?

      • Suleiman Alatise

        None has lost an election and refused to hand over. Yahya shouldn’t be allowed to worsen an already bad. Situation

      • Rumournaire

        So, in your reasoning, because there are other armed robbers who have not been dealt with, we should not deal with any armed robber? People like you are the enemies of progress – You believe we should continue in evil today because we did evil yesterday.

      • dareolu1

        yeah…so Jammeh is innocent and acting aright…get you….seems you’re obviously one of the folks who has given up already, well just a note…over 100years ago, during Abraham Lincolns era, Americans never gave up, they went into a Civil War, lost 8 out of every 10 men in battle, but look where they are today…….we refuse bondage for Africa from henceforth, we will start with Jammeh, time to, no more stories…….just leave, period!

    • Jallow Ceesay

      Your stupidity is second to none. One would have expected you to be more critical of the situation as regards the Genocide against the defenseless Christians in Southern Kaduna town of Nigeria than to ficus on my Gambia. Is your President not killing Nigerians and refusing to obey the courts in Nigeria? Is that the will of the Nigerian people?

  • jammeh

    With all the bullshit going on in Africa its Gambia you wanna put their people in chaos and suffering… each of the countries who make this so-called ECOMIG got SERIOUS ISSUES including us here…leave those guys to sort themselves out, if and when it becomes dicey then you guys can intervene to bring peace…isn’t that why you were set up in the first place?!

    • dareolu1

      people are already leaving the Gambia in droves, ECOWAS to wait for what, just who can satisfy humans, not even God…..

      • Mumu1

        How many people have fled Southern Kaduna or have been killed? How many have fled due to terrorist herdsmen? Can u compare with Gambia?

        • dareolu1

          what are you talking…..there is no fleeing anywhere in Kaduna, yes the major communities that where hit have had people live to peaceful neighboring places but that is no reason Africa should close it’s eyes and watch another Laurent Gbagbo or Charles Taylor situation in Gambia..you can hate Buhari forever, but ECOWAS represents Africa, not Nigeria, and we are just a member state and nothing more..get your details right please….

    • Arabakpura

      The guy will not survive a day longer; he is battle-rusty and they are gonna jamm him very bad!

    • Victor

      Jammeh and imbeciles like him are causing all the bullcrap you are talking about. Why should one person be President for 22yrs. By sheer providence he’s been voted out and he still won’t go? Cmon now even for Gambia this is taking the piss

  • Alpha

    The military option should be made the last. Get the Gambian supreme court constituted with whatever nationals acceptable to jamme. Let the court dismiss his pending cases. That should be the first option. The next should be to instigate a coup against him. With tact, we do not need to waste any Nigerian’s live in that country.
    .

    • Arabakpura

      He will go with ease and I suspect at the last minute; he is no threat at all and has nothing apart from the beautiful Gambia!

    • Lemmuel Odjay

      Under the prevailing circumstances, a coup could endanger lives. And what guarantee has ECOMIG that those military guys in Banjul would gladly hand over power to Mr Barrow on a platter? Who is ECOMIG, by the way? Talking about power o, and the guy with the power/supergun, who becomes the new possessor of the keys to the Gambian Central Bank in addition would surely consider other options not in line with Barrow’s or ECOMIG! Our people say the irritating fly that perches on one’s sensitive part must be dealt with in wisdom and understanding o. Otherwise na yeyy paripa!!!

  • Arabakpura

    The clouds are gathering; only Jammeh can stop this rain from coming down on Gambia!

  • RAPE on The Niger DELTA

    Dear AVENGERS,
    There is massive poverty in the Niger Delta. There is nothing to show for the wealth of the region as monies from the region are used to develop Abuja and the rest of the country. The only benefit the oil producing and resource owners – Biafra and Niger Delta regions benefit from Nigeria are :
    – Pollution
    – Neglect
    – Violence
    – Military Occupation
    – Wanton arrest of its citizens
    – Harassment
    – Sponsored propaganda to defame
    – Bypass in political appointments
    – Hate, hate and more hate
    – Etc etc, etc

    …yet, the parasitic regions (Vultures) that feast on the resources of the Niger Delta want it to remain part of Nigeria even as they care not about the many artificial problems that oil exploration has brought to the people –Health issues / Diseases arising from toxic pollutants. Buhari never borrowed to clean up the Niger Delta or rehabilitate the displaced farmers and fishermen. But he borrows to resettle those reportedly displaced by Islamic terrorists – a people (Terrorists) he claims must not be killed.

    SECESSION is the only way for the Niger Delta and Biafran regions if they must achieve their potentials. Buhari can remain president of the rest of Nigeria and those of us who do not want to be associated with Nigeria in any way should be left alone to live our dreams and fly to our destination – have our own country. And this is what we must do. May God be with our freedom fighting comrades – the AVENGERS…and we look forward to Operation Hurricane Joshua and Jericho Wall.

  • Gary

    Hope this open meeting of ECOWAS defense chiefs ends the brouhaha over PT reporting the call up of Nigerian troops for possible deployment, if force becomes necessary in The Gambia.

    Possible military intervention was never going to happen in secret. This meeting adds to the mounting pressure on Jammeh and his Army loyalists about what is coming down the road unless he steps down for the duly elected President.
    His days in The Gambia are numbered and the longer he delays, the fewer his options of exile and asylum become. Dead man walking.

  • thusspokez

    The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, on Saturday hosted colleagues from other West African countries as ECOWAS steps up preparation for a possible military action in the Gambia

    It is only 4 days left, and by now the forces should be conducting mock exercises.

  • MammanJiyaVatsa

    Sgt.Samuel Doe, you better appear to Yahya Jammeh in his dream and advice him to learn from your own brutal ending !

  • Man_Enough

    this is a war of blame. supposing goodluck refused to step down, could the ecowas military dared to attack their Nigerian counterparts? i think mr. barrow should start the war then the ecowas can support. for ecowas to take it upon themselves is an intervention in the internal affairs of gambia.

  • born Great

    Going to war in Gambia will be one of the dumbest thing a Buhari will do. Ecowas has no right to pressure Mr Jammeh to step down, moreover he has gone to court to challenge the outcome of the election and non of this coconut head leaders in Ecowas are even listening to his side of the story. Gambia is a sovereign nation.

  • Simeon Oluwasanmi

    It is totally wrong for ECOWAS to go and remove the president of another country. Is Gambia at war? No. If the incumbent President challenge the result of the election, he has the constitutional right to do so. ECOWAS is taking this stand because they know that Gambia is a small country that they can easily overruns her army. Where was this ECOWAS during the time of Abiola and brutal Abacha? Did Abiola not win the election clean and neat? This is a case of Goliath and small David. The situation in Gambia at the moment doesn’t require any military intervention from any external aggressors.