Amidst complaints of paucity of funds, Sunday Tribune can authoritatively reveal that the Federal Government may have committed not less than N500 million towards the deployment of 200 troops to the ECOWAS operations in The Gambia.
Informed military sources disclosed to Sunday Tribune that due to the urgency of the operations, the Federal Government had to source for funds to enable Nigeria, seen as a power bloc in the sub-region to participate in the operations.
Sunday Tribune learnt further that since Nigerian troops are currently busy fighting insurgency in the North-East and huge funds had been channeled towards the operation, the Federal Government had to dip its hands into Nigerian foreign operations fund domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The source said further that the over N500 million fund was meant for airlifting the troops, fueling the alpha jets on a daily basis and feeding.
Sunday Tribune also learnt that the troops were not paid their estacode, because of the urgency of the operations but would get it when until they are back from the operations.
ECOWAS leaders had all agreed to contribute troops as ECOWAS standard force, to force Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh out of office.
Jammeh, who had accepted defeat and congratulated his opponent, Adama Barrow, after the later changed his mind and refused to hand over to his successor.
Nigeria led the ECOWAS group by contributing 200 troops and two alpha jets including other countries like Senegal, Ghana and Mali.
Gambia has only 2500 troops, who have all pledged their loyalty to President Barrow.
Barrow was sworn in, on Thursday January, 19, 2017, at The Gambia Embassy in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, while some ground troops from Senegal.
The Nigerian Airforce Alpha jet has been busy carrying out reconnaissance operations around The Gambia.
The military sources disclosed that the navy ship was dispatched to Gambia, was in case of any eventuality and to assist in evacuating Nigerians who may be trapped in the country if the situation degenerates.
However with the latest development, the military sources noted that the Nigerian troops may not stay longer than one month.
According to the source, once the situation stabilizes, the Nigerian troops will be recalled.
Jammeh leaves Banjul
Jammeh is expected, will now leave Banjul on Saturday with President Alpha Conde of Guinea, to begin a new life in exile.
This followed Friday’s final peace move by Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
The two West African leaders travelled to Banjul to persuade the long ruling Jammeh to leave peacefully before West African forces pounced on him.
All indications are that Jammeh will be going into exile in Guinea.
A senior adviser to new President Adama Barrow said talks to finalise the exile deal were holding up his exit.
Barrow to return
President Barrow on Saturday, said he was returning to his country following Yahya Jammeh’s announcement to step down as president.
Barrow on his twitter handle, @adama_barrow, said: “As Yahya Jammeh officially stepped down from office — I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia. #NewGambia,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Barrow also told the Associated Press in an interview, on Saturday, that he would enter Gambia once a security sweep had been completed.
The new president also said that Jammeh would be leaving within hours on Saturday and told Gambians who had fled the country that they now had “the liberty to return home.”
Barrow, on Thursday, took the oath of office as Gambia’s new president.
He was sworn in about 5:00 p.m., Senegalese time at the Gambian High Commission in Dakar, Senegal.
Barrow succeeded Yahya Jammeh, who lost in the Dec. 1 presidential election and refused to vacate office when his 22-year rule expired midnight on Thursday.
West African mediators spent several hours in talks with him on Friday after military forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stopped actions to remove Jammeh by force to allow last-minute negotiations.
Jammeh, however, on state TV on Saturday, announced that he would step down in the interest of the Gambian people adding that it was his duty to “preserve at every instant” their lives.
He was also reported to have left the State House to join President Alpha Conda of Guinea to the airport, to begin a new life in exile.
Source: Nigerian Tribune