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The Nigerian Army has reacted to reports that it 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.
Recall that Premium Times had quoted military insiders as saying that the battalion called ECOMOG NIBATT 1 is presently camped at Okitipupa in Ondo state.
But in a swift response, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, director army public relations, has described the report as untrue and a figment of the imagination of Premium Times.
Usman said the Nigerian Army is not planning to attack any country.
The Army spokesman challenged Premium Times to name the officer or soldier that gave them such information and when.
He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication by Premium Times online news medium titled “EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria raises troops for Gambia, ready to remove Yahya Jammeh”. This is not true.
“Consequently, Nigerian Army wishes to disassociate itself from such false information that exists only in the figment of the imagination of the medium. There was no time or place Nigerian Army disclosed such information to the medium. If there is any, we challenge them to name the officer or soldier that gave them such information and when.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerian Army is not planning to attack any country.”
The statement added: “It should be noted that such reckless and unprofessional conduct is not expected of any reputable and responsible news medium as it is inimical to national security.
“The publication apart from being false in its entirety, it is unethical and capable of endangering the lives of Nigerians in diaspora.
“The medium is please requested to always clarify such matters affecting national security and diplomatic issues that may endanger the safety and security of Nigerians abroad to avoid such misleading and embarrassing publication.”
Meanwhile, Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh has criticised international pressure on him to step down as he announced the appointment of a mediator to help resolve the country’s political impasse.
In an address on national television late on Tuesday, January 10, Jammeh lashed out “at unprecedented level of foreign interference in our elections and internal affairs and also a sustained smear campaign, propaganda and misinformation.”