Africa

Nigeria leader in new effort to get Gambia's Jammeh to leave

  • FILE- In this Tuesday Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, Gambian officers signal to the media not to block the public's view during President Yahya Jammeh's final rally in Banjul, Gambia. A Gambian court has postponed a decision on the disputed presidential election until next week. The delay of the ruling party's case until Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 sets up a collision course with the opposition, which still plans the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow on Jan 19. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE- In this Tuesday Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, Gambian officers signal to the media not to block the public's view during President Yahya Jammeh's final rally in Banjul, Gambia. A Gambian court has postponed a decision on the disputed presidential election until next week. The delay of the ruling party's case until Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 sets up a collision course with the opposition, which still plans the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow on Jan 19. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 29, 2015, file photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari salutes his supporters during his inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria. Buhari is leading a regional delegation to Gambia in a last-ditch attempt to persuade its longtime leader to step down and allow his rival's inauguration next week. Buhari has been authorized to offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum, if necessary, during Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, visit. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

    FILE - In this May 29, 2015, file photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari salutes his supporters during his inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria. Buhari is leading a regional delegation to Gambia in a last-ditch attempt to persuade its longtime leader to step down and allow his rival's inauguration next week. Buhari has been authorized to offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum, if necessary, during Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, visit. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. left, Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, second from left, Gambia President, Yahya Jammeh, centre, former Ghana President, John Dramani Mahama, and an Unidentified woman during a meeting in Banjul Gambia, Friday Jan.13, 2017 . Nigeria's president was leading a regional delegation to Gambia in a last-ditch attempt Friday to persuade its longtime leader to step down and allow his rival's inauguration next week, while fears grow that the impasse could turn violent. (Bayo Omoboriowo/Nigeria State House via AP)

    In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. left, Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, second from left, Gambia President, Yahya Jammeh, centre, former Ghana President, John Dramani Mahama, and an Unidentified woman during a meeting in Banjul Gambia, Friday Jan.13, 2017 . Nigeria's president was leading a regional delegation to Gambia in a last-ditch attempt Friday to persuade its longtime leader to step down and allow his rival's inauguration next week, while fears grow that the impasse could turn violent. (Bayo Omoboriowo/Nigeria State House via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Nigeria's president is leading a regional delegation to Gambia in a last-ditch attempt to persuade its longtime leader to step down and allow his rival's inauguration next week.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been authorized to offer Gambian President Yahya Jammeh asylum, if necessary, during Friday's visit.

The West African regional bloc also has a military force on standby to intervene if Jammeh does not step down when his mandate expires Jan. 19.

Jammeh at first accepted his Dec. 1 election loss but changed his mind. His party has contested the results in court.

Fears are growing that the impasse will turn violent.

President-elect Adama Barrow is renewing his offer to Jammeh for direct discussions on the crisis, telling the BBC that "I'll be very willing to talk to him directly."