The “unwilling to depart” President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh has declared a three-month state of emergency, with less than a day to the inauguration of president-elect Adama Barrow.
In a televised address on state TV on Tuesday evening, Jammeh announced that the 90 days state of emergency started from January 17 and will end April 17, 2017.
“Under this state of public emergency, civil liberties are to be fully respected while all citizens and residents in The Gambia are banned from any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement to violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace,” he said.
Jammeh gave reasons for the state of emergency including “the need to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum pending the determination of the petitions at the Supreme Court and the application for an injunction against swearing in Mr. Adama Barrow,until the Supreme Court decides on the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election results”.
He also ordered the security forces, who pledged allegiance to him, to maintain law and order in the country during the period.
Jammeh’s declaration is coming on a day when report says Nigeria troops are preparing to arrive at a base of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) alongside troops from Senegal to ensure that President Jammeh is ousted from office tomorrow, January 19.
Nigerian warship, NNS UNITY, is also heading for the coast of The Gambia to join the operation, the daily newspaper, The Punch has reported.
It also said it learnt from a top military source in the Nigerian Air Force that the troops would be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in the early hours of Wednesday, before leaving for Senegal.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has warned the embattled Jammeh, saying he is losing opportunities to peacefully handover to President-elect Barrow and avoid the consequences of his actions.
Jammeh’s tenure ends Jan. 19, the same day that Barrow is expected to be sworn-in as his successor.
Both the African Union and ECOWAS have said that Jammeh will cease to be recognised as Gambian President from the date.
Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Mr John Kirby, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that Jammeh was putting his legacy and The Gambia in peril.
“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday.
“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.
“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” he said.