Sunday, July 25, 2004

Nigeria/Liberia: Obasanjo says Taylor stays

President Olusegun Obasanjo has reaffirmed that Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, will not be handed over to the war crimes court in Sierra Leone.
The President said if the country promised to provide security to an asylum seeker, it should honour that pledge.

"We must tell the world we are a country of honour. If we say come here we'll give you security we should be able to do so," he said.

"If we had not brought Charles Taylor here, there would have still been bloodbath in that country," he added.1
However ...
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria has repeatedly said that his country would hand over Taylor to the Special Court if the Liberian government request it. (source)
But ... a recent effort to have Liberia's transitional government make such a request failed.
"Taylor went into exile in Nigeria as part of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) arrangement to have peace restored to Liberia and this national transitional legislative assembly would not do otherwise," said the parliamentary minutes from Tuesday's meeting.

"Allowing Taylor to face the Court in Freetown, Sierra Leone will hamper the peace process," the parliamentarians added, unanimously rejecting a petition submitted by eighty human rights and pro-democracy groups. (source)
Two Nigerians have gone to court to challenge Taylor's right to stay in Nigeria. The two men, David Anyaele and Emmanuel Egbuna, were attacked in Sierra Leone in 1999 by a Taylor-backed militia. The militia members amputated Anyaele's arms and mutilated Egbuna's wrists, leaving him unable to use his hands. Anyaele and Egbuna want Taylor to be extradited to Sierra Leone.
Judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Justice Steven R. Ada, has issued a subpoena requiring the Nigerian Refugee Commission (NRF) to produce all documents relating to former Liberian President Charles Taylor's asylum application in Nigeria.

[...] THISDAY gathered that the request covers all legal advise issued to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Taylor's application for refugee status and the actual application itself, if it exists.2
Also ... three weeks ago, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) called on Obasanjo to hand Taylor over to the court in Sierra Leonea.
"The CNPP is of the view that, the tribunal cannot deliver any meaningful judgment in the (Sierra Leonean) 10-year old civil war, without the mastermind, paymaster and warlord, Charles Taylor, more so when principal actors, Fordeh Sankoh and Sam Bakare, alias Mosquito are dead and John Paul Kromah is on the run."(source)

1: Jolayemi, Moses. (2004, July 23). Taylor: It's Matter of Honour, Says Obasanjo. This Day.

2: Ugah, Ndubuisi. (2004, July 16). Court Seeks Taylor's Asylum Documents. This Day