The prosecutor of the Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal has urged Nigerian authorities to quickly arrest former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor before he slips away.

Desmond De Silva on Sunday urged Nigeria to take all necessary steps to make sure Taylor is unable to flee.

On Saturday Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said Liberia could take custody of its exiled former president, who has been living in Nigeria since 2003.

The Sierra Leone tribunal has accused him of masterminding civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 1990's.

U.S.-based Human Rights watch also urged Nigeria to tighten security around Taylor's villa to prevent his escape before he can be put before the tribunal.

Nigeria granted Taylor asylum in 2003 to help end Liberia's 14 year civil war. Nigeria initially said it would not hand Mr. Taylor over under any circumstances, but later said it would extradite hem if requested by an elected Liberian government.

The war crimes tribunal has indicted Taylor on 17 counts. Each count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.