West Africa

Revealed: How Jammeh’s Nigeria asylum deal fell through



The two million dollars and oil bloc connection


By John Eche


Unknown to many, ousted President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh had put in a condition that Nigeria should pay him two million dollars, along with the award of an oil bloc as condition precedent for his stepping down from office and coming to take up exile residence in Nigeria!

Sources close to the discussions in which Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari was official mediator revealed that when the embattled despot made his demand public in one of the final ‘persuasion sessions’ undertaken by the ECOWAS mediating team, he was to get a tongue-lashing from Buhari who made it known to him that if ‘this was how you have ben dealing with past Nigerian presidents, let me tell you now that I am different.’ Still incensed, Buhari had reportedly turned to his delegation member, former President John Dramani Mahama and told him to ‘get this man out of my sight!’

From that point, the sources say, Buhari no longer took part in the rest of the mediation arrangements, leaving Foreign Minister, Geofrey Onyeama to work with ECOWAS Chairman, Johnson Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia, former president Mahama, and the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania to finally close the discusions, see Jammeh out of the country and pave the way for the return of the rightful heir to the throne, President Adama Barrow.

Another reason which our sources confirmed contributed to why Jammeh snubbed Nigeria’s asylum offer, whose legal frame had already been initated in the National Assembly, was the fear of the re-enactment of the Charles Taylor situation. Here, it will be recalled that it was from exile in Nigeria that security agents were to ferret Taylor to the Hague to face war crimes charges.

It was all of these factors that finally culminated in Jammeh finally settling for the more amenable Equatorial Guinea, whose President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema holds the distinction of being the longest serving dictator on earth!

There however remain intense pressure within and outside Gambia by Gambians, the opposition in Equatorial Guinea and within the ranks of African civil society to ensure that Jammeh yet gets his day in court. And should that day come, it will very likely be the International Criminal Court, ICC, that is incidentally being led by his former Justice Minister, Fatou Bensouda, that he would be docked! 


Former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh






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