Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in Paris Wednesday that former Liberian president Charles Taylor would be brought to justice, but only after consultations with other West African leaders. Taylor has been living in exile in Nigeria since 2003. There’s new disagreement over whether Mrs. Sirleaf asked Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo during her visit to Nigeria last week to extradite Taylor.
President Obasanjo’s spokeswoman Remi Oyo told VOA earlier this week that Taylor was never discussed. However, Chief Cyril Allen, chairman emeritus of former President Taylor’s political party, tells English to Africa reporter James Butty President Sirleaf did make a request to President Obasanjo.
“The issue in Monrovia today and on a lot of talk shows on the radio and in the newspapers," says Allen, "is that there was a letter presented to President Obasanjo by President Sirleaf on her way out.”
Allen says President Obasanjo has repeatedly said that he would only turn President Taylor over to a duly elected Liberian government upon a formal request. But he says President Sirleaf made her request unilaterally.
“What is important to me right now is that a formal request from the government of Liberia for President Taylor to be turned over to the government must be made by the collective effort of the three branches of government. The Speaker is not aware; the President Pro Temp is not aware. I have spoken to all these authorities in the country today,” he says.
President Sirleaf returned home Friday from her visits to Belgium and France.