ABUJA—Nigerian and senegalese troops were deployed to The Gambia, yesterday, as part of the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS, mandate to enforce the December 1, 2016 election result in that country.
This came as senators were divided, yesterday, over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to send troops and fighter jets to The Gambia, saying that President Buhari did not get its approval for the action. Nigerian troop is part of the Senegal-led troops that have entered The Gambia to ensure that Adama Barrow, who was sworn-in as president in Senegal, yesterday, assumes power as the country’s new president. A Senegalese army spokesman confirmed the troops entry into The Gambia shortly after Mr Barrow took the presidential oath at The Gambia’s embassy in Senegal. Barrow has been recognised internationally. But strongman and embattled Yahya Jammeh has refused to quit and is backed by parliament that has granted him 90 days extension of power. West African leaders had threatened to remove Mr Jammeh by force. The United Nations Security Council backed their efforts, which led to the troops deployement. However, in Nigeria, members of the Upper legislative chamber are kicking. Their worry over deployment of Nigerian troops to The Gambia without the Senate’s approval, came following a point of Order raised by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North, referring to Section 5, sub-section 4 and 5 of the 1999 Constitution. According to Senator Utazi, the constitution categorically directed the president to communicate to the Senate if he was sending Nigerian military out of the country for any war. However, Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali, justified Nigeria’s deployment of troops, saying that it was in consonance with the unanimous decision of the ECOWAS community at its meeting to deploy the ECOWAS Standby Force that includes Nigeria’s military.