Koroma, Sierra Leone

The Federal Government of Nigeria has offered temporary asylum in Abuja to the former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, who charged with treason for his alleged role in a failed military attempt to topple the West African country’s government in November 2023.

This was contained in a letter dated January 2, 2024.

The letter with reference number ECW/PC/DC/2024-001/oat, signed by the ECOWAS Commission President, Omar Alieu Touray, and directed to President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone said Koroma has agreed to the proposition of being hosted in Nigeria.

The former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, was charged with four offences, including treason over the failed coup in the country.

Koroma served as president for 11 years until 2018, when the current President, Julius Maada Bio, was elected.

The letter read: “I refer to the mission to Freetown on 23 December of the high-level ECOWAS delegation led by His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, and His Excellency, Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal.

READ ALSO: Failed coup: Sierra Leone charges ex-president with treason, plans exile to Nigeria

“I am pleased to inform Your Excellency that as part of the agreement reached during the mission, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has offered to host His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, former President of Sierra Leone, in Abuja on a temporary basis. The former President has accepted the offer to be hosted in Nigeria.

“Subject to your approval, arrangements will be made to fly former President Koroma out of Freetown on Thursday, 4 January 2024. He will be accompanied by his office manager and personal assistant.

“In addition to seeking Your Excellency’s approval for the departure from Sierra Leone of the former president on or around the date indicated above, I would like to seek your confirmation that once President Koroma leaves Sierra Leone, the following arrangements (as agreed during the mission) will be put in place.”

According to Touray, the arrangements outlined were as follows: the government of Sierra Leone would cease all legal and administrative actions against Koroma; Koroma would continue to receive his benefits as a former President; the government of Sierra Leone would ensure the security of his residences in various locations within the country; and there is contemplation by the government of Sierra Leone to reimburse the former President for medical and travel expenses incurred.

However, Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Timothy Kabba, told BBC that the government did not endorse the suggestion to relocate Koroma, characterising it as a proposal from the ECOWAS Commission President.

Attempts by West African leaders to facilitate an arrangement for Koroma to go into exile in Nigeria, contingent on dropping the charges, were made.

Koroma had expressed agreement with the deal brokered by the regional group in a letter.

The Star



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