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Controversy As Former Sierra Leone President Charged With Treason, Heads To Nigeria On Asylum




Former Sierra Leone President, Koroma Arrives Nigeria

The plans by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to relocate former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma to Nigeria have stirred controversy.

Recall that gunmen had last November broken into a military armoury and several prisons in Freetown, freeing almost 2,000 inmates.

Koroma denied any involvement in the attack, which killed about 20 people.

However, the former president and 11 other people were on Tuesday charged over the attempted coup, including one of Koroma’s former bodyguards.

Koroma has been under house arrest since being questioned over the coup.

He was President for 11 years until 2018 when incumbent President Julius Maada Bio was elected.

In a statement Wednesday, the ECOWAS Commission President, Omar Alieu Touray, indicated that the move to relocate Koroma followed an agreement reached by an ECOWAS Mission to Freetown on December 23.

The high-level delegation was led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana and Macky Sail of Senegal.

Touray said Koroma had accepted the offer to be hosted in Nigeria, and subject to approval, arrangements will be made to fly him out of Freetown today.

However, Sierra Leone Foreign Minster Timothy Kabba told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the government did not support the proposal to relocate Koroma, which he described as a unilateral proposition by the ECOWAS Commission President.

But, Touray’s statement on Koroma’s relocation to Nigeria, titled: “Temporary relocation of former President to Abuja,” reads: “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.

“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.”

George Oshogwe Ogbolu is a Digital Media Strategist | Content Writer | Journalist | New Media Influencer | Proofreader and Editor at Naija News.