Former Sierra Leone President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, is scheduled to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday after being granted political asylum by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Sierra Leonean authorities are filing charges against Koroma in connection with an unsuccessful coup d’état on November 26, 2023.
Koroma’s impending arrival was announced through a public notice signed by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah.
According to the notice, the Republic of Sierra Leone officially charged Koroma on Wednesday, January 3, 2024. The charges include treason, misprison of treason, and two counts of harbouring, following investigations into the failed coup.
In a letter directed to the current President of Sierra Leone, Julius Bio, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, requested former President be temporarily relocated to Abuja, Nigeria.
The letter dated January 2, 2024, was also copied Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, and Sierra Leonean President Macky Sall.
The letter to the leaders read in part, “I am please 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.”
ECOWAS said it was necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma during the ongoing coup trial. It said it was keen on fostering peace, stability, and the rule of law in the West African region.
As a member state of ECOWAS, Nigeria has agreed to offer political asylum to the former Sierra Leonean leader. This decision aligns with the regional bloc’s dedication to promoting diplomacy and conflict resolution within its member states.
While confronting serious charges in his home country, Ernest Koroma is expected to reside in Nigeria, pending the resolution of legal matters and the restoration of political stability in Sierra Leone.
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