Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has declared state of emergency less than 48 hours before the planned inauguration of country’s president elect Adama Barrow who is currently in Senegal.
The state of emergency is expected to take 90 days.
President Jammeh was declared loser in Gambia’s Dec. 1 presidential election won by Barrow but he rejected the results a week after conceding, and said the process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities”.
Jammeh said his “declaration is necessitated by the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the December 1 presidential elections and also in the internal affairs of The Gambia and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, peace, security and stability of the country”.
Gambia is currently facing a possible military showdown with regional forces if Jammeh refused to step down on Jan. 1, ECOWAS has warned. .
BBC Africa Security Correspondent Tomi Oladipo said the Nigerian warship is being deployed to put on a show of strength rather than to launch an attack.
A military source says that the vessel – the NNS Unity – is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana.
Jammeh has filed a petition seeking to annul the results at the country’s Supreme Court but it could not be heard because of the unavailability of judges from Nigeria and Serra Leone.
Jammeh attributed the non-appearance of judges from Nigeria and Serra Leone to hear his election petition as being “influenced by foreign powers and their agents”.
He argued that the state of emergency will also “prevent a constitutional crisis and avoid a power vacuum” pending the determination of his petition.
He also assured that “civil liberties are to be fully respected”.
Gambian National Assembly where his party overwhelmingly controlled has approved a resolution backing the state of emergency.