|EPA - Mr Buhari (L) and other leaders were unable to persuade Mr Jammeh (C) to step down last month|
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is to host four other West African leaders later today in an effort to avoid violence in The Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to hand over power later this month after losing an election.
Senegal President Macky Sall, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone Vice-President Victor Foh and former Ghana president John Mahama will travel to Abuja for talks.
Tomorrow in Abuja, in my role as ECOWAS-mandated Mediator, I will host a meeting of West African leaders on the situation in The Gambia.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 8, 2017
Mr Buhari and the former Ghana president John Mahama have also been mandated by the West African group of nations Ecowas to ensure the safety of election winner Adama Barrow and ensure there is a peaceful handover of power on 19 January, the Nigerian presidency said in a statement.
Mr Buhari and other west African leaders visited Mr Jammeh last month but were unable to persuade him to step down. Ecowas officials have said that a military intervention to force Mr Jammeh out was conceivable.
The head of the army in The Gambia has pledged his loyalty to Mr Jammeh and some reports suggest he has been seeking to recruit mercenaries from Liberia and Ivory Coast and
The US embassy in the country has ordered the families of embassy staff to leave the country and advised US citizens to do the same.