Thursday, January 12, 2017 5:20 pm
The House of Representatives on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to consider asylum offer for Gambia President, Yahya Jammeh.
The house, however, advised Jammeh to respect the wish of the citizens of the country, who voted against him in the recent presidential election.
It expressed support for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led diplomatic negotiations at stabilizing Gambia as the country grappled with political crisis resulting from the poll.
The house also said that it was in solidarity with the parliament and people of Gambia on the development, following Jammeh’s refusal to accept the result of the election, which he lost.
The resolutions of the lawmakers followed a motion by Rep. Sani Zorro (APC-Jigawa) which was adopted by members through a majority voice vote.
Moving the motion, Zorro had said that the clock was ticking fast for the survival of democracy in Gambia and that there was the need to intensify preventive diplomacy to save the country.
According to him, Nigeria’s past leadership has played roles in restoring peace and settling conflicts in various Southern and West Africa nations, including Congo, Chad and Liberia.
He said that Nigeria’s policy of extending safe haven to endangered African leaders had been part of the nation’s dispute settlement.
Zorro added that such gesture was extended to President Felix Malloun of Chad, Charles Taylor and Yomi Johnson, both of Liberia and others.
Supporting the motion, Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (PDP- Abia) said granting asylum to the embattled Gambian leader was in consonance with Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust.
In his contribution, Rep. Mojeed Alabi (APC-Osun) noted that before considering asylum for Jammeh, Nigerians should be educated on the development and the need to accord him such favour.
However, opposing the motion, Rep. Obinna Chidoka (PDP-Anambra) argued that the house would be ”jumping the gun” by calling for asylum for Jammeh in Nigeria.
Chidoka recalled that “there was a credible election in The Gambia and the opposition candidate, Adams Barrow, won and was congratulated by the incumbent, Yahya Jammeh, who also conceded defeat”.
Also kicking against the motion, Rep. Nasiru Umar (APC-Kano) cautioned that the house should not take a decision that would suggest that the nation was supporting dictators.
“We should not be giving wrong signals to dictators that after misruling their countries, they will find a safe haven in Nigeria,” he warned.
Similarly, Rep. Pally Iriase (APC-Edo) warned that though the intention of the motion was good, the house should thread with caution.
After the debate, the house resolved to urge the government to consider asylum for Jammeh and mandated its committees on Foreign Affairs and Legislative Compliance, respectively, to ensure implementation. (NAN)