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Nigeria Agrees to Extradite Taylor to Liberia


The Nigerian government says it is prepared to extradite former Liberian President Charles Taylor to Liberia. Newly elected Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had requested Taylor be handed over to face war crimes charges.

The Nigerian government issued a statement on Saturday confirming that it would transfer Charles Taylor to Liberia's custody.

The statement said, "Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has today informed President Johnson Sirleaf that the government of Liberia is free to take former President Charles Taylor into its custody."

Mr. Obasanjo offered Taylor asylum in 2003 to bring Liberia's civil war to an end. The Nigerian president initially said he would not hand Taylor over under any circumstances. Several months later, he said he would extradite him if a duly elected Liberian government requested this.

Taylor is not charged in Liberia, but is indicted with war crimes, crimes against humanity and training and using child soldiers in Sierra Leone.

The United Nations Mission in Liberia says that, if Taylor enters Liberia, it will apprehend him, and assist in his transfer to the U.N.-backed court in Sierra Leone.

Liberian President Sirleaf has said it is essential to bring Charles Taylor to justice, if Liberia is to recover from the damage caused by years of civil war.