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Nigerian West Coast traders decry impacts of looming crisis in Gambia

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Leading Nigerian West Coast traders have called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Africa Union (AU) to do everything possible to effect a smooth handover in The Gambia to avoid crisis capable of frustrating West Coast trading.

In an interview in Lagos, one of the traders who live in Ghana and ply his trade within the region, Mr. Chika Abara said “Since after the election, many of business associates from Gambia are no more active out of fear.

“For us who are Nigerians, we are yet to know what to do because we trade in Gambia where we buy mainly clothing materials including Brocades and lace materials for distribution to Nigeria and Ghana.

Continuing, Abara said “Why some of us are yet to resume trans-Ecowas trading is because we are still watching activities in Gambia,” arguing that “it will be out of place to begin a trade mission that will terminate either in Gambia or Senegal within this dangerous period in the Gambia”.

Abara noted that he and his trading associates will remain in Nigeria and be trading along Nigeria and Ghana to Guinea Bissau pending when the road to Gambia will be very clear.

As at Monday, indications are rife that President Jammeh is yet to change his mind and reaccept his loss at the December 1, 201 election won by his rival and real estate investor, Barrow.

Additional details from Gambia show that the President-elect, Adama Barrow is now in neighbouring Senegal, and may form government from 19th of this month when he is constitutionally supposed to assume power from Jammeh.

Barrow went with President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the Africa-France summit in Bamako, the Malian capital on Friday, from where he appeared to have moved to Senegal.

Business Hilights recalls that the long-ruling Jammeh had conceded defeat in a national TV broadcast only to change his mind, thus raising a dicey situation in the land-locked country with Senegal.

Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results.

However, news from ECOWAS head office at Abuja Monday show that the bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas was quoted as saying.


But the court could not rule on his challenge this week because judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not show up. The Supreme Court has indicated it may not be able to sit again until May.

The situation has therefore put the entire scenario into a delicate situation capable of throwing up constitutional crisis which may end up in arms or peaceful settlement.


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