Nigeria’s foreign minister says his Nigeria will not turn over exiled Liberian president Charles Taylor to a third country, but would consider sending him back to Liberia. Speaking in New York Wednesday, Oluyemi Adenji said his country had no intention of turning over Mr. Taylor to the special court in Sierra Leone. He’s been indicted by the court for crimes against humanity relating to Sierra Leone’s civil war.
Allison Cooper is a spokesperson for the UN backed Sierra Leone Special Court. From Freetown, she spoke to English to Africa Joe De Capua about the Nigerian position on Charles Taylor, WHO is currently living in exile in Calabar, Nigeria.
She says, “This is not a new position for the government of Nigeria. They have said this before...The reaction to that at the special court is we really believe that it’s time for justice to take its course, rather than having different politicians regardless of where they are, whether they’re Nigeria or Liberian, stating what the course of action should be for a lawfully indicted international war criminal.”
Ms. Cooper believes there is growing international pressure on Nigeria to turnover Mr. Taylor. She says, “Certainly, I believe that events of this year show that Nigeria is coming under increasing international pressure to hand Charles Taylor over. There was a unanimous resolution passed by the European Parliament earlier this year that was followed by resolutions through the US Congress in May. There’s been very, very serious and very, very loud calls towards Nigeria to consider handing him over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”
She says if, indeed, Charles Taylor is handed over the Liberia, it won’t be before the democratic elections later this year.