Global Policy Forum

Nigeria Faces Renewed Calls for


By Jeanette Goldman
July 31, 2005

Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are joining a growing number of countries calling upon Nigeria to review its asylum terms that are currently protecting former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, from facing trial for crimes against humanity, Reuters reported on July 30.

"(We) agreed to suggest to the government of Nigeria that there may now be need for a review of the terms of the temporary stay granted to Charles Taylor," representatives from the three countries stated in a joint communiqué seen by Reuters.

Liberia's interim leader, Gyude Bryant, Sierra Leone's Pesident Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and Guinea's Prime Minister Cellou Diallo held a closed-door meeting over weekend at the conclusion of which they signed the joint statement. The leaders implicated Taylor in the attempted assassination of Guinea's president, and accused him of continually supporting the armed groups in Liberia as well as maintaining contacts with senior Liberia officials, all of which constitute a breach of his asylum terms.

Despite increasing international calls upon Nigeria to extradite Taylor to a United Natios-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone, Nigeria continues to resist. Nigeria's leadership said that it will not extradite Taylor unless an elected Liberia government asks it to do so or unless there is explicit evidence that the former president is in breach of his asylum terms, which ban him from meddling in Liberia's political affairs.

Liberia now has an interim government and elections are due to take place in October of 2005. In light of Liberia's upcoming elections, non-governmental organization, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) has renewed its demand for the handover of the former Liberian president, in a press release on July 28. With elections just three months away, PAC is increasingly concerned that the former president will attempt to influence the election outcome.

As evidence of Taylor's continued economic and political interests in Liberia, PAC sited proof from United Nations Secretary General's June 2005 report which states, "Former President Charles Taylor is reportedly in regular contact with his former business, military and political associates in Liberia and is suspected of sponsoring a variety of presidential candidates with a view to ensuring that the next Liberian Government will include his sympathizers."

Diamonds are still being mined in Liberia, PAC's executive director Bernard Taylor told Rapaport News. Taylor continues to have economic interests in Sierra Leone while human rights groups allege his continued political and economic links. PAC contends that Taylor is lying in wait for a friendly government in Liberia to invite him back. "Nigeria," PAC told Rapaport, "is wittingly or unwittingly helping to pave the way for Taylor's return to Liberia."

PAC works with various organizations in Africa, Canada, and internationally to aid development in Africa. In the year 2000, PAC brought international attention to the theft of diamonds from Sierra Leone by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and described how millions of dollars worth of diamonds were being transported through the Liberian capital of Monrovia to pay for weapons. The group says that by breaking UN sanctions, Charles Taylor and the government provided a training base and financing for the RUF.

About 50,000 people are estimated to have died in the Sierra Leone conflict.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on Charles Taylor
More Information on the Rogues Gallery
More Information on Liberia
More Information on Sierra Leone
More Information on the Special Court for Sierra Leone
More Information on Diamonds in Conflict


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