Nigerian MPs back asylum for Yahya Jammeh

Lower house votes for Nigeria to consider giving asylum to President Jammeh as a way of ending political crisis.

    Jammeh has taken legal action against the election result and said he will not step down until his complaint is heard [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]
    Jammeh has taken legal action against the election result and said he will not step down until his complaint is heard [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

    Nigeria's lower house has voted to offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum if he steps down, according to Gambian MPs.

    The House of Representatives approved a motion on Thursday for President Muhammadu Buhari to offer Jammeh asylum if he hands over power to Adama Barrow, who won The Gambia's December 1 elections.

    The motion is not binding on the government and there was no immediate response from Buhari, who is expected to travel to Banjul on Friday for talks.

    READ MORE: Gambia president-elect Adama Barrow talks to Al Jazeera

    The MPs said "the clock is ticking fast" for The Gambia and there was a need to step up diplomacy, as the possibility of violence and mass displacement threatened West African stability.

    They called on Jammeh to "respect the will of the people" who voted for opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the elections.

    Buhari, who is leading the regional diplomatic effort, should "extend Nigeria's readiness to offer ... Jammeh safe haven in Nigeria to live securely as a way of ending the political stalemate in The Gambia", they added.

    'Violence should be avoided'

    Buhari's foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Tuesday that "violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out" by regional bloc ECOWAS to ensure The Gambia's constitution is upheld.

    Jammeh has taken legal action against the election result and said he will not step down until his complaint is heard.

    That has raised the prospect of months of political deadlock because The Gambia lacks Supreme Court judges to handle the case.

    Nigeria has previously given asylum to a number of African political leaders, including the Liberian rebel-turned-president Charles Taylor.

    Buhari is due to travel with other West African leaders to The Gambia on Friday to try to persuade Jammeh to accept the election results, which he has rejected so far.

    Inside Story - The Gambia: Is it on a path to turmoil?

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.