- Nigeria Raises Troops For Gambia, Ready To Remove Yahya Jammeh
The Nigerian Army has raised an army battalion that would be deployed in troubled Gambia to forcefully remove President Yahya Jammeh from power if he fails to step down on January 19, Premium Times reported on Thursday.
According to Premium Times, a battalion, christened ECOMOG NIBATT 1, was drawn from the Army’s 19th Battalion based in Okitipupa, Ondo State, military insiders.
Personnel were also drawn from other formations and units across the country due to shortage of men at 19 Battalion which has a significant chunk of its troops deployed for internal security task force, Operation Delta Safe.
This newspaper learnt that the Army Headquarters has instructed the nominated officers and men, put at over 800, to immediately report at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, for a crashed course on counter terrorism and counter insurgency.
Our sources said Army Headquarters has also instructed the Army directorates of policy and plans; finance; and logistics to ready funds, arms, ammunition and other logistics for the operation.
The Armoured Corps is also working hard to ready armoured vehicles needed for the task, officials said.
There were suggestions by some of our sources that the Nigerian Air Force and the Navy might deploy men and equipment for the operation as well.
Top military officers said the Nigerian Battalion would be deployed in The Gambia anytime after January 19 if President Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down after the expiration of his tenure.
“This is an emergency operation, but we are ready,” one officer said. “The Nigerian Army is a strong, professional fighting force battle ready at anytime. We are so well structured that we can deploy at the touch of a button.
“We did it in Liberian, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. And Jammeh should know that we are not a joking force. Once we get the all clear from ECOWAS, the AU and the UN to move in, we can pick him up.”
The regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had on December 23 put standby military forces on alert.
The ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza, said Senegal, The Gambia’s only territorial neighbour, would lead any military operation in the country.
Other West African countries will be mandated to provide troops as well, Mr. De Souza reportedly said.
Mr. Jammeh lost the December 1 2016 Gambia presidential election to opposition candidate, Adama Barrow.
He initially accepted defeat and congratulated Mr. Barrow but changed his mind and decided to challenge the outcome of the election.
He also vowed not to hand over to the winner as expected on January 19.
On Thursday, Mr. Jammeh said he would not step down before a Supreme Court decision on the disputed election, the BBC reported.
The President, the report said, insisted his cabinet and the National Assembly would remain in place until the Supreme Court rules on his party’s petition.
There is currently shortage of judges in the country to sit on the matter.
The case can only be heard in May if Nigeria agrees to supply judges to the Supreme Court.
West African leaders, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the chief mediator, are travelling to Gambia on Friday to persuade Mr. Jammeh to accept an “honourable exit plan”.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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